White Paper / Risk Management
Opioids Wreak Havoc on Workers’ Compensation Costs

Prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest-growing drug issue, an epidemic affecting all of society and workers' compensation in particular. Prescription opioids are presently the number one workers' compensation problem in terms of controlling the ultimate cost of indemnity losses. There has never been a more damaging impact on the cost of workers' compensation claims from a single issue than the abuse of opioid prescriptions for the management of chronic pain.

The aggressive prescribing of opioids to treat chronic pain is a relatively new phenomenon in workers' compensation's 100-year history.  Overdose deaths from prescribed painkillers have increased 300 percent since 1999, when the nation experienced approximately 15,000 fatalities, more than cocaine and heroin combined, and they originate from prescriptions, not home labs.  Employers' workers' compensation claims are caught right in the middle of the foray.

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