Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: New Drug Prescribing GuidelinesMarch 22, 2017
Prescription opioids are extremely potent medications that are used to manage pain. Unfortunately, they are also highly addictive, even when patients are taking them as prescribed. Medical experts call the prescription opioid epidemic the most serious public health crisis affecting people across the country. New legislation is being considered that would change prescription drug rules for individuals who are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits. The move is in response to a 2016 study from the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute that found injured workers who received care through their Workers’ Compensation plan are prescribed opioids at higher-than-average rates.
Under the newly proposed drug guidelines, a drug formulary system would recommend certain medications based on whether the drug has been approved by the FDA. For certain medications, including prescription opioids, the physician would be required to obtain authorization to prescribe the medication. Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, who works with a medical consulting firm, was initially skeptical about the new prescribing guidelines. However, that changed after he found that fewer patients were becoming addicted to opioids because he was not prescribing them nearly as much. Ultimately, he found that his patients did not need them.
Why Are Opioids So Addictive?
Opioids are a synthetic drug that are manufactured to work like opiates in that they alter the way the body feels pain. In addition to managing pain, opioids also affect how the brain experiences pleasure. As a result, it is common for people taking them to experience a sense of euphoria, followed by feelings of relaxation and fatigue.
There are two possible factors that may have contributed to the steep rise in prescription opioid use. First, in the early 1990s physicians began to write more prescriptions for opioids to be used for general pain management, rather than treating acute severe pain from surgery, trauma, or terminal diseases that cause severe pain. Second, insurance companies generally do not pay for alternate methods of pain management like biofeedback, meditation, or exercise therapy. However, in most cases they cover the cost of prescription medications, including opioids.
The new prescription guidelines are a step in the right direction in combating the overuse of opioids, including prescriptions used for injured workers who are collecting Workers’ Compensation. According to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, stopping the epidemic will require a collective effort by healthcare professionals and lawmakers in order to establish safer, more effective prescribing guidelines.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Injured Workers Obtain Compensation
If you have developed an addiction to prescription opioids due to an injury you suffered at work, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our experienced legal team will ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve, including a drug treatment program if that becomes necessary. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.