Opiod abuse and workers’ comp

Human Resource Executive Online recently published an article highlighting a study showing little drop in workers’ comp related opiod abuse. Often prescribed by doctors for pain after an injury, long-term use can lead to addiction and result in a worker needing extended leave in addition to other medical problems.

According to the article, a new study — Longer-Term Use of Opioids, 2nd Edition — from the Workers Compensation Research Institute finds that, “so far, there appears to have been minimal reduction in the prevalence of longer-term opioid use in the 25 states that were studied.”

According to Lev Ginsburg, The Business Council’s director of government affairs, the business community has warned lawmakers that policies in the workers’ compensation system, and the health system in general, were leading to opioid addiction and other long-term health detriments among employees.

While programs like I-STOP in New York have worked to combat opioid abuse, an unforeseen consequence is that the use of heroin, which is cheaper and more readily available, has risen.

Ginsburg says, “Negative outcomes can result from some health policies. There is little debate that insurance mandates lead to the overuse of healthcare and lead to ballooning costs, but also, sometimes to unhealthy results.”

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