Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Opioid Addiction After Work InjuryApril 25, 2017
According to the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), three out of four injured workers are prescribed an opioid drug for treatment after a workplace accident. A painkiller prescription can be the start of an addiction problem and even lead to death through fatal overdose. In Maryland, the first six months of 2016 showed a 62 percent increase in deaths from prescription opioids compared to the same period in 2015, echoing a nationwide trend.
CompPharma is a company that looks for solutions to control pharmacy costs in Workers’ Compensation programs. According to their 2015 survey, Workers’ Compensation insurers spent more than $1.5 billion on opioid drugs. Prescriptions for injured workers made up 13 percent of all the opioids prescribed in the United States in 2015. At the top of the list of concerns for survey respondents was opioids and addiction. Construction workers, healthcare workers, and shipyard workers are just some of the employees at high risk for injuries where opioids are prescribed as part of treatment. Now some states are turning to the Workers’ Compensation system to help stop the over-prescription of opioid painkillers to injured workers.
Maryland – Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company is the state’s largest provider of Workers’ Compensation insurance. The company is providing awareness kits free of charge to employers that include posters, flyers and digital graphics.
Massachusetts – An increase in overdoses and deaths in the state Workers’ Compensation system led to an expedited process to resolve medication disputes with insurers and offer alternative methods for relieving pain to injured workers.
New York – The Workers’ Compensation board has moved to allow insurers to request hearings that will determine if a worker with a claim needs to be taken off opioids. Opioid abuse has been deemed a public health crisis there.
Ohio – New rules from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation allow insurers to deny reimbursement for opioid prescriptions if they feel the drugs are being over-prescribed. The bureau can provide treatment for workers who become addicted after being prescribed opioids.
Dr. Stephen Fisher is a medical advisor to Chesapeake Employers. Describing the epidemic of opioid addiction, he notes that prescription painkillers are so dangerous because they are included in the same class of drugs as heroin and morphine. Some people mistakenly think that pharmaceuticals are different and less addictive than street drugs, but they are actually chemically similar as are the effects on the brain.
State of Emergency in Maryland
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring the opioid crisis a state of emergency and allocating $50 million over the next five years. The money will be used for enforcement, prevention, and treatment services. Using the state of emergency management agency will enable officials to avoid the red tape that usually separates the federal, state, and local levels of government.
The president and co-founder of Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates, Carin Miller, stresses the need for more detox, medical, and counseling programs to meet the ever-growing demand. She says, “Nine of ten times we are sending them to Florida and other states for treatment.”
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Injured Workers Affected by Opioid Addiction
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will fight for the maximum compensation available for your case. Call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) for a free consultation about your case. You can also contact us online.