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Are injured workers getting addicted to opioids?

If you get hurt on the job and require surgery or treatments for pain, you may be interested to know that the rate at which doctors are prescribing opiates has dropped. With a war on opiate abuse coming to a head in the United States, only those who truly have no other medical options may end up with these controlled substances.

States are approaching the drug-related issues by restricting and monitoring the use of opioids. In the past, they were overused and misused, leading to the concerns heard today. A study released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute pointed out that there have been decreases in the amount of opioids given to injured workers in most case studies.

Why is that good news for you?

While it's important for your pain to be controlled, the misuse or overprescribing of opioids can lead to addiction and dependency. Addiction or dependency can end up leading to further injuries, all of which stem from your initial workplace accident.

A study involving 26 states, including Virginia, showed that overall, those states saw a reduction in opiate prescriptions. In only around one-third to one-half of cases were workers using sedating drugs and opioids together, whereas opioid and benzodiazepine combinations were seen in 0 to 9 percent of claims.

As an employee who has suffered an injury on the job, it's important to get the medical care you need and to prevent addiction or other secondary injuries as a result of that care. If you are hurt on the job, your workers' compensation policy should help you seek all necessary medical help.

Source: Capitol Fax, "Study finds opioid use declining here among injured workers," accessed July 21, 2017

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