It is no secret that prescription drug abuse is prevalent throughout the United States.
Opioids, drugs used for pain management and sedation, are at the forefront of this trend. According to the CDC, doctors were three times more likely to prescribe opioids for pain in 2015 than they were in 1999. This trend might lead to dependency, abuse and addiction.
In the wake of increased opioid use, many doctors are clamoring to address patients' pain without the use of narcotics. On another front, workers' compensation insurance programs are limiting opioid prescription frequency and duration in their coverage
The Average Patient
On average, patients who have a prescription for narcotics receive an 18-day supply. In most cases, if the pain persists, doctors give the patient another short supply. Yet the strength and duration of opioid use, especially for chronic pain, is under fire.
In a report released by the CDC, researchers found, "...prescriptions are written for longer time periods when they are used for types of pain that persist, and ...dosages tend to increase gradually when opioids are used long term."
Workers’ Compensation Insurance's Role
Opioid use is often common in worker's compensation insurance claims. When a worker sustains a job-related injury, they might need certain painkillers to aid their recovery. However, The Workers Compensation Research Institute studied the frequency and duration of these medications in a variety of states.
In a study released in June 2017, almost half of the states studied saw a drop in opioid prescriptions. The number of powerful pain medication prescriptions as well as the strength given to injured workers dropped over the last four years. Many states have implemented criteria before doctors can prescribe narcotics to workers' compensation patients. These two measures have limited opioid use in injured workers. In turn, injured workers experienced less addiction and less chronic pain. In the absence of pain-masking drugs, workers also received better care for the injury.
Faced with a narcotic addiction problem, business insurance is the last place a person would look for solutions. Yet, workers compensation insurance has found a way to reduce workers' dependence on prescription pain medication. By limiting the frequency and duration of prescriptions and implementing additional fail-safes, business insurance is leading the way for others to follow.
We've got you covered. Call Insurance Agent2000 at (925) 827-0510 for a convenient quote on Concord workers compensation insurance.