Report Finds Opioids Prescriptions Decreasing Among Workers’ Compensation Recipients, but Is There More to the Story?
Jan 14, 2022
Charleston, SC (Law Firm Newswire) January 14, 2022 Steinberg Law attorney Malcolm Crosland Weighs in on Recent Report Indicating a Reduction in Opioid Use Among Worker’s Compensation Recipients
The opioid epidemic is a genuine threat. In response to the growing number of overdose deaths across the country, lawmakers are considering ways to decrease the rate at which these medications are prescribed. The workers’ compensation system is no exception.
Recently, researchers from the Workers Compensation Research Institute found that the rate at which workers’ compensation recipients were prescribed certain narcotic pain medication decreased by 12 percent. The study also determined that the new regulations limiting how long patients are prescribed opioid medication contributed to a 19 percent decrease in morphine opioids distributed in workers’ compensation claims.
While decreasing opioid prescriptions sounds good in theory, attorney Malcolm Crosland of the Steinberg Law Firm points out that doing so is often at the expense of injured workers’ wellbeing. The concern is focused on whether there is an acceptable substitute for opioid medication.
Doctors prescribe pain killers for a reason. After a workplace injury, some injured workers suffer from excruciating chronic pain that limits their physical activities and decreases their quality of life. As Crosland explains, “If you’re going to restrict access to pain medication, you cannot do it unless you have reasonable alternatives for relieving chronic pain. You can limit access, but where does that leave the injured worker?”
Crosland acknowledges that the new policies resulted in a decrease in the number of opioid medication prescriptions. However, he argues that without an effective way to address an injured worker’s pain, the policies may also cause a spike in the number of psychiatric claims. “It’s a shortsighted and wrongheaded approach in trying to address any problem the prescription of opioids may create if you just look at limiting access,” Crosland explains. “This is a complicated problem that does not lend itself to easy solutions. To cut off those who suffer from chronic pain from effective pain medications without an alternative for pain management is not only inhumane but can lead to injured workers seeking street drugs and alcohol to manage the pain. That is not a good consequence to a policy that advocates cutting legitimate chronic pain victims from their medication.”
Instead, Crosland suggests that the workers’ comp industry needs to view opioids and other stakeholder concerns over pain management with a more holistic approach, keeping in mind that these decisions impact the daily lives of injured workers.
The Steinberg Law Firm was founded in 1927, and since then, has tirelessly advocated on behalf of injured workers. The founder of Steinberg Law Firm, Irving Steinberg, was instrumental in getting the first workers’ compensation laws passed in South Carolina. The Steinberg Law Firm carries on this legacy today, representing clients across all industries who suffer injuries as the result of a workplace accident. Steinberg Law attorneys have more than 170 years of combined experience helping injured workers recover the compensation they need and deserve following a serious workplace accident. For more information, visit their website at https://www.steinberglawfirm.com or call (843) 720-2800.
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