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Ohio workers' compensation agency to crack down on pain-pill use

Medications that relieve pain can be important to an injured worker's recovery, but that relief can sometimes lead to abuse of the prescribed drugs. The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation is trying to make sure that the drugs dispensed to injured workers do not lead to addictions.

The bureau began to monitor the frequency of addictive prescriptions in 2011, and began placing limits on overused drugs like opioids and muscle relaxants. Since that time officials have been implementing more controls over injured workers and those who provide them with prescription drugs. As of January, the bureau will no longer cover the costs of controlled substances for injured workers who are not enrolled in an automated reporting system that tracks prescriptions. Anti-anxiety medications are also on the bureau's radar, with efforts underway to track those as well.

In addition to the potential abuse of the drugs, the bureau has concerns about the costs of the drugs and is looking to control that issue as well. In recent years, the bureau has paid for more than 188 million doses of narcotic drugs, spending nearly $40 million on claimants requiring opiate prescriptions alone.

The goal of the bureau is not to deprive injured workers, who are in need of medication, of their workers’ compensation benefits, but to reduce their chances of dependence and addiction. Ideally, this will allow them to return to work without relying on the substances, and also curb the waste of agency money.

Workers’ compensation benefits can be a very important part of an injured worker’s recovery.  With these new guidelines in place in Ohio, it remains very important to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for help obtaining benefits and remaining in compliance with the new rules. 

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Workers’ comp tightens pain-pill rules,” Feb. 1, 2014

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