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The prevalence of long-term dispensing of opioids to injured workers has decreased in several states, according to study released Thursday by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute.
The decreases may be due to the number of “opioid policies and initiatives that were aimed at addressing issues related to prescribing and chronic opioid management,” said WCRI.
In New York and Kentucky, the number of claims that received opioids on a longer-term basis decreased more than 4 percentage points from 11% in Kentucky and 11.3% in New York. In Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Tennessee, the decreases were in the 2% to 3% range. In California, Florida, and Texas, the decrease was 1%-2%.
The study looked at data comprising over 400,000 nonsurgical workers comp claims, which represents 36% to 69% of workers comp claims with more than seven days of lost time.
“Research finds that high doses and prolonged use of opioids may lead to addiction, increased disability or work loss, and even death,” Ramona Tanabe, Boston-based WCRI's executive vice president and counsel, said in a Thursday statement. “The information in this report can help policymakers and other stakeholders compare the trend of longer-term dispensing of opioids in their state to other states and learn what policy tools are available to reduce unnecessary opioid use.”
An examination of opioid prescribing in workers compensation when compared to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that entities in charge of treating injured workers are doing a better job at reducing the prescribing of powerful painkillers.