Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Prescription Drug AddictionMarch 13, 2017
Stories about the opioid epidemic and fatal drug overdoses have been all over the news as the number of people who become addicted to these drugs continues to rise. Until recently, many people did not believe that a prescription you pick up from your pharmacy could be as dangerous and addictive as an illegal narcotic. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. Many of the people who become addicted to these drugs are employees who have been injured at work.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011, drug overdoses were responsible for more accidental deaths than car accidents. And overdoses of opioid painkillers cause more fatalities in this country than heroin and cocaine combined. Even the most responsible employee can become addicted to these potent painkillers. This can have a significant impact on the employee’s Workers’ Compensation claim in the following ways:
- Delayed Return to Work: According to published studies, employees who are prescribed high doses of prescription painkillers spend more time out of work than those who take smaller doses, or who resort to other methods of pain management. People who take large doses of opioids tend to develop a tolerance, so they continue to require higher doses to get the same effect. As a result, the drug leaves them feeling sedated and unable to perform their job responsibilities. A 2008 California Workers’ Compensation Institute study reported that employees taking high doses of prescription painkillers were out of work three times longer than employees with similar injuries, but who took lower doses of the drug.
- Higher Claims Costs: Studies also show that employees who have developed an addiction to opioids have higher claims costs than those who are not using these drugs. Unfortunately, some of these costs are likely to include addiction and dependency treatment.
- Potential Safety Risk: It is not uncommon for employees who are addicted to painkillers to return to work too soon. This can put themselves and their co-workers at risk because opioids are known to make you less alert and slower to react in a potentially dangerous situation. For example, construction workers who operate heavy machinery could risk seriously injuring themselves or other employees in the vicinity if the drugs they are taking affect their ability to safely operate the equipment. If another employee is injured as a result, this will lead to additional Workers’ Compensation costs.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Injured Workers Receive Compensation
If you have been injured at work, contact the experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We understand how the complex claims process works and we will work hard to secure the benefits you deserve, including a drug treatment program if necessary. Our dedicated and compassionate team will protect your rights every step of the way. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our Workers’ Compensation lawyers, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.