Study: “Longer-Term Use of Opioids,” Estimates 1 in 12 Injured Workers Still Popping Pills Months Later

3 to 6 months after an accident, nearly 1 in 12 injuredworkers are still on their pain medication.  These medications can be dangerously addictive and habit forming, so the medical community advocates strict guidelines for monitoring the use and misuse of these pills by patients.  Unfortunately, it seems in over 21 states, there has been some lax compliance with state guidelines.

In a recent study by the Worker’s Compensation Research Institute entitled “Longer- Term Use of Opioids”, researchers found relatively low medical compliance with guidelines intended to monitor and prevent long term abuse of pain medications.  Over 300,000 worker’s compensation claims and 1.1 million prescriptions were analyzed in order to gauge the effectiveness of medical treatments and guidelines over a 24 month period.

These included programs such as psychological evaluations and drug testing. Failure to pick up on potential abuse and misuse of prescription medications can result in an injured worker developing a dangerous addiction.  It is the medical community’s intention to prevent addiction, abuse, overdose, and death, especially in ailing workers.

Researchers Warn of Low Medical Oversight

Medical professionals who don’t monitor their patients’ prescription pill usage do their patients a huge disservice.  The goal of treatment should be to patch you up, free you of pain, and get you back to work, if you’re able.  But it seems some doctors have lost sight of that goal. 

The study’s findings call out particular attention to the following:

·         Nearly 1 in 12 injured workers are still on pain meds 3 to 6 months after their accident. This increased use of pain meds could lead to disability, more time off work, addiction problems and risk to others.

·         Only an average of 24% of injured workers was monitored by their doctors with drug testing to prevent and catch addiction in patients.

·         Only an average of 4- 7 % of long term narcotics users were offered psychological treatment services to prevent addiction and assess the effect these drugs had on disabled workers.

If You Have Been Injured and Still Take Pain Medication

Pain medication can be highly addictive.  If you’re still feeling the effects of pain 6 months after your accident, it’s possible that you should seek other pain management methods.  Consult your physician regarding your pain management options.  Discuss methods to relieve your pain that would eliminate the risk of chemical dependency and addiction.

If you are still suffering in pain and you haven’t gotten the assistance you need, you may want to talk to an attorney and discuss yourrights.  The clock is ticking, so you don’t want to wait.