State of Washington: Shifts Paradigm on Opioid Prescribing
Several states have been putting controls in place to better manage the use of Schedule II opioids in workers’ compensation. Payers may be able to look towards states like Washington and others that have implemented evidence based guidelines to incorporate similar methodology when operating in states without controls.
Within the last decade, opioid treatments for chronic, non-cancer pain have grown significantly. An estimated 32 percent of all workers’ compensation patients nationally received opioids and in increasingly higher doses.1 In the state of Washington, from 2002-2005, 42 percent of workers with compensable back injuries received an opioid prescription in the first year after injury, most often at the first medical visit for that injury. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain, found that 16 percent of those same workers were still receiving opioids one year after injury.2
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