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Study: 1 in 12 Injured Workers Remains on Opioids

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

worker at chemical plantA new study finds that few physicians are following appropriate guidelines when prescribing painkillers to injured workers. The Workers Compensation Research Institute examined almost 300,000 workers’ compensation claims from 21 states and 1.1 million prescriptions filled. The Institute found that nearly one in 12 injured workers prescribed powerful painkillers were still using them three to six months later. Only 4% to 7% of the injured workers received psychological evaluation, and only about 24% got at least one drug test. Both drug tests and psychological evaluations can help prevent prescription drug abuse. Some addiction specialists noted that these drugs may not improve function, even if they succeed in reducing pain. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, told the Journal-Sentinel, “There are workers who get these pills and go home and spend the whole day on the sofa. Most addiction experts would call that addiction.”

Source: Boston Globe Few physicians are following prescribing guidelines for painkillers, study finds

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