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Prescription painkillers and workers’ compensation

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2015 | Workers' Compensation |

Prescription drug abuse and addiction may be covered by workers’ compensation plans in North Carolina and around the country. A recent report issued by the National Safety Council show that over 25 percent of workers’ compensation costs are for prescription pain medication, also known as opiods. The report points to cases in which an employer was sued because opiods were used to treat workplace injuries. These painkillers have a high potential for abuse because they are highly addictive, and an overdose can cause death. In many cases, workers’ compensation plans have been required to provide compensation for the subsequent injury or death due to opiod addiction and abuse.

The report suggests changes to mitigate the harm caused by prescription drug abuse following a workplace accident. Some of the suggestions include creating guidelines for prescription painkillers, screening workers for mental health conditions, requiring prescriptions to be purchased and managed by a pharmacy benefit manager, educating workers about the dangers of painkillers and requiring prescription drug monitoring programs.

In some workplaces, there is a high risk of injury that can lead to permanent disability. At construction sites, there is a serious risk of falling or crush injuries, especially when appropriate precautions are not taken. Employers are required to maintain safe working conditions at all times, but many cut corners when it comes to being 100 percent compliant with all regulations.

Workers’ compensation was created to provide for an employee’s medical expenses and other benefits. People who have been injured on the job may need immediate medical care, as well as weeks or months of rehabilitation before they can safely return to work. An attorney experienced in these matters may be able to help an injured victim prepare and file the required claim as well as provide representation throughout the process.