Although the statistics vary from state to state, there are fewer injured workers receiving opioids than there have been in recent years. A growing emphasis is being placed on physical therapies and non-opioid medications.
According to a study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) that looked at workers’ compensation (WC) claims from 27 states, the use of NSAIDs and other non-opioid pain medications and physical therapy has been increasing. Opioids remain heavily prescribed, however, and there is wide variety between states in the rate of opioid prescriptions.
John Ruser, the CEO and president of the WCRI observed: “Opioid overdose deaths continue to be a top public health priority in the United States. This priority is shared by the workers’ compensation community, as injured workers are commonly prescribed opioids. This report informs policymakers and other stakeholders about changes in the way that injured workers are being treated for pain in workers’ compensation systems, and provides information to monitor the impacts of ongoing policy changes.”
The study also noted that in states where injured workers received more than a 7 or 14-day supply of opioids in an initial prescription, the chronic opioid use rate was also higher.