Opioid Addiction In The Wake of a Workplace Accident
In the wake of a devastating workplace accident, many workers need medicinal help to manage their physical pain. That’s when most physicians prescribe opiates. When used correctly, opiates can be extremely beneficial. They can help injured workers heal and get back to work, something they might not have been able to do otherwise.
However, while this type of medication is intended to help those injured workers rest and heal, far too often, that prescription can lead to an opioid addiction.
The double-edged sword of opioids
Opioid addiction rates are at an all-time high in the United States right now. It’s costing too many families the life of a loved one, and costing the country more than $500 billion every year. Researchers are now reexamining the use of opioids in the aftermath of a workplace accident to determine whether or not there is a better solution.
A recent study found that one contributing factor for the rise in opioid addiction is the rate at which these medications are being prescribed. A staggering 2 million people across the US were prescribed opioids in 2013. From that number, 16,000 people lost their lives to an overdose. One insurance group, The Travelers Companies, Inc., has examined the data and found an algorithm to determine a patient’s risk factor of opioid addiction after an accident. By using their “Early Severity Predictor” model, physicians can better determine if their patient might develop a chronic pain condition and therefore might become dependent on opioids.
The company is also examining the different types of workplace injuries that are most likely to require the use of opioids or other pain management medications. Dr. Adam Seidner is the global medical director for The Travelers Companies. He examined the research and found that; “Lower back is the No.1 high-risk injury… We also see it with shoulder and knee injuries.”
By using this information, physicians can take precautions against opioid addiction in their patients.
After an workplace accident, responsibly used opioids can improve the lives of many. However, physicians need to go the extra step when discussing the recovery process with their clients. Simply handing anyone a prescription and showing them the door is not the best practice. Physicians need to work with the patients to determine what would be the best course of action for that specific patient. They need to closely monitor those patients who are given these highly addictive substances and intervene if they feel those medications are being abused.
The Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyers at Vellner Law have seen the devastation an opioid addiction can bring to a family. If you or a loved one has been affected by opioid addiction in the wake of a workplace accident, contact us today. We have the skills and expertise to help you get your life back.