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The number of workers receiving opioids for workplace injuries has continued to decline in Ohio, according to a study released Monday by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.
In an evaluation of its prescriptions and pharmacy costs, the BWC found that the number of injured workers receiving a prescription for injuries in 2020 dropped to 23,469, a 16% decline compared with 2019. The number of workers receiving opioids also declined 18% to 12,507 from the prior year, the report noted.
The total amount the bureau paid for prescriptions also declined in 2020 to $39 million, a 28% drop compared with 2019.
Opioids continue to be among the most expensive prescriptions in the state — costing the bureau $14 million in 2020 — but the BWC said that is due to a shift to painkillers with stronger abuse-deterrent properties that are not yet offered in generic form. The next most-costly drug categories for 2020 were antidepressants and anticonvulsants at $4 million each, followed by respiratory agents and dermatologicals at $2 million each, according to the study.
The Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that temporarily provides health care and emergency services providers qualified civil immunity and expands access to workers compensation for certain employees who contract COVID-19.