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Prescriptions of opioids decrease in New Jersey, other states

In a study that looked at prescriptions of opioids for workers' compensation claims in New Jersey and 24 other states, data demonstrated that the number of prescriptions given for the medications has fallen. The decrease comes with increasing reforms in some states' policies that are geared towards curbing opioid addiction rates.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute looked at prescriptions for 24-month periods ending in March 2012 and March 2014. During those two time periods, injured workers received fewer opioids with decreases in prescribed amounts seen in both. The study reviewed prescription data for 337,000 nonsurgical claims. The injuries in the study happened between Oct. 1, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2012, and the prescriptions that were filled resulting from them were filled through March 31, 2014.

In addition to state reforms, the authors also said that the decreases were due to the adoption of treatment guidelines and improvements in drug monitoring programs for prescription drugs. Claims that involved losing more than seven days of work but that did not require surgical interventions still showed frequent prescriptions with 65 to 80 percent of injured workers receiving opioids.

People who are injured on the job may be eligible to apply for benefits under their employer's workers' compensation insurance coverage. This can help them by paying for all of the costs of care involved in treating their work-related injuries. Work-related injuries can also leave many victims with pain management problems. Opioid prescription medications provide good pain relief, but they also carry significant risks of abuse and addiction. Injured workers may want to talk about alternative pain management treatment methods that they might use in lieu of taking prescription narcotic medications with their doctors. If their employer disputes or denies payment for alternative treatments, they may want to get help from a workers' compensation attorney.

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