North Carolina Injured Workers Are On Prescribed Narcotics For Longer Than Average

Posted on Aug 22, 2011
A new study conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) has found that the amount, time period, and type of narcotic prescription drugs differs greatly among injured workers in large states. The WCRI examined 75,000 different workers’ compensation claims involving narcotic drugs in 17 different states between 2005 and 2006, including North Carolina.

In North Carolina, the researchers found that injured workers who lost at least seven days work were placed on narcotic prescription drugs for a longer period of time than average. This pattern, which suggests that some injured workers may be long-term users or abusers of these drugs, show that a significant number of doctors in North Carolina are not following guidelines set for monitoring workers’ comp cases – which include periodic drug tests, psychiatric analysis for long-term users, and possible substance abuse treatment for some. North Carolina was not singled out for the amount of narcotic drugs prescribed to injured workers or the strength of drugs prescribed.

What should be done to curb possible narcotics overuse, abuse, and addiction among injured workers across the country? The WCRI suggested raising awareness among both physicians who prescribe the drugs and among injured workers. In addition, they suggest that more research should be done regarding why exactly the types, length, and use of narcotics varies among different states.

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