Role of Narcotics in Workers’ Compensation Cases
GEORGIA – According to an NCCI Holdings Inc. brief published online at GWCA.INFO, narcotics play a significant role in workers’ compensation cases. The drugs are commonly prescribed to patients who have been injured in work-related accidents and can account for almost 20 percent of a claimant's medical costs.*
NCCI found that narcotics were being prescribed with increasing regularity as time went on, with OxyContin and Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen being two of the most commonly used narcotics for workers’ compensation patients. The researchers quoted the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine as saying that “overuse of opioid therapy to treat chronic pain conditions is becoming an epidemic in the United States,” and that many other treatments should be considered before opioids.
On a per-claim basis, the NCCI report found that the cost of prescription narcotics has increased, and most narcotic use is concentrated to a small percentage of workers’ compensation claimants. In addition, the report said that initial use of prescription narcotics is indicative of future use. A high use of narcotics in the first three months after an injury is correlated with a higher-than-average use of narcotics over subsequent periods of time.
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