Ohio WC seeks to curb prescription painkiller abuse

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Com­pen­sation is trying to reduce the amount of powerful narcotics prescribed for injured workers receiving workers’ comp benefits. According to John Hanna, who heads the bureau’s pharmacy operation, the state is “part of the problem” of overprescribed painkillers.

Last year, almost a third of prescriptions written for workers’ comp recipients were for painkillers. Over the past decade, Hanna said, the number of narcotic prescriptions has increased 37%. He called the problem “an epidemic.”

Efforts to curb narcotic prescriptions seem to be working. The number of such scripts written has fallen 13% this year.

Note: Employers may encounter painkiller addiction among employees returning from painful injuries. Employers don’t have to tolerate illegal drug abuse or impaired workers. However, it may be more effective to rehabilitate workers with prescription drug dependency than to fire them. Consider referring affected employees to your employee assistance program to seek treatment options.

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