Less Workers' Comp Beneficiaries are Getting Opioid Prescriptions Than Ever

Posted By Thomas F. Martin, PLC || 9-Nov-2016

The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), one of the country’s leading organizations for understanding and applying workers’ compensation law across the country, has recently concluded a study that looked into how often injured workers were gaining opioid prescriptions as part of their workers’ compensation medical treatments. Out of the 25 states and two 2-year sample groups it was able to gather, the WCRI noticed that the majority of states are gradually yet noticeably lessening the number of opioid prescriptions it allows through workers’ compensation.

While it is true that some states actually saw a rise in opioid prescriptions – Wisconsin, for example, rose nearly 20% between 2012 and 2014 – many more had big dips. Michigan fell a full 31% in opioid prescription use frequency and Ohio, which was not directly included in the WCRI study, claims to have cut opioid workers’ comp prescriptions by 40% or more. Put simply, injured workers are less likely to receive an opioid painkiller today than they were just four or five years ago. Instead, they may be directed towards different treatments or alternate medications.

Is This Decrease Good or Bad?

At a cursory glance, it is really difficult to tell if the general decline in opioid prescriptions granted in part by workers’ compensation is beneficial or not. It is believed that opioid prescriptions are the leading cause of addiction and overdose deaths in the country, so steering people away from such drugs is likely the right decision. But what about the health, wellbeing, and comfort of an injured worker that is in considerable pain due to an on-the-job accident?

Discouraging doctors from prescribing opioids might actually be a detriment for injured workers who are attempting to cope with injuries that might not be their fault in the first place. The fact that opioid prescriptions are typically more expensive than any other medication also raises a few eyebrows. Could employers and insurers be avoiding opioids just to save themselves money in the long run?

Need Benefits? Call Thomas F. Martin, PLC

Are you struggling to get the workers’ compensation benefits you need after a job-related accident? Do you think that you are being given substandard care or offered too little coverage? Let our Santa Ana workers’ compensation attorney be your legal advocate during your time of need. You will work directly with your lawyer from start to finish, so you know that the solution we find for you is tailored specifically to your needs.

Call 714.594.5389 today to get into contact with our team and start on your case.

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