According to a recent study conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), prescribing opioids for a longer period of time can significantly increase the length of temporary disability among workers who suffer work-related lower back injuries. Temporary disability is the time that workers spend outside of work recuperating from the injuries they sustained at work. The president and CEO of WCRI, John Ruser, stated that prescription of opioids for the treatment of lower back injuries that do not require surgery, is common.
However, regulations governing medical practice frequently discourage the use of opioids for this purpose on a regular basis. Ruser went on to say that policies that address the inappropriate prescription of opioids for a longer period of time will likely result in the return of workers to their jobs more quickly.
The study entitled, “The Impact of Opioid Prescriptions on Duration of Temporary Disability” indicated that long-term prescriptions of opioids resulted in temporary disability that lasted more than three times the length of temporary disability for claims without opioid prescriptions. According to the study, a small amount of opioid prescriptions, over a brief period of time, did not extend the duration of temporary disability.
In addition, the study found that local prescribing habits played an integral part in deciding whether injured workers were prescribed opioids. Workers who resided in high-prescription areas were more likely to be prescribed opioids than those who lived in low-prescription areas.
Furthermore, long-term use of opioids can result in addiction for many people. In fact, a patient can become addicted to opioids after only a brief period of time. Moreover, according to another study published in Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety (PDS), there is a greater risk of alcohol abuse and heroin use among people who received prescriptions for opioids for a long time.
If you were injured at work, call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Petrillo & Goldberg. They will help you navigate the workers’ compensation rules and regulations, and serve as an advocate for you in securing the compensation to which you are entitled.