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Are workplace injury accident victims prescribed too many drugs?

Injured workers in Massachusetts and elsewhere are often prescribed strong narcotic painkillers like Oxycontin to treat the pain that can accompany many injuries, such as back injury, neck injury and repetitive stress injuries. Now, a new study has revealed that many physicians who prescribe these types of powerful painkillers for work-related injury do not adhere to recommended patient monitoring guidelines. As a result, patients may use the drugs long term. Unfortunately, this can lead to addition.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute conducted a study showing that one out of 12 employees who have been injured and prescribed painkillers will continue to take them several months longer. In addition, the study also revealed that workers who were given these narcotics did not usually receive the recommended drug test monitoring and psychological evaluations that could help prevent misuse.

This means that in some cases the narcotics may actually have a detrimental impact on the ability of injured workers to recover and return to work. Often depressed and despondent due to an inability to work, injured workers who are not properly monitored may be particularly vulnerable to the problems of overuse and addiction associated with these powerful drugs.

Sometimes, these prescriptions do indeed benefit the injured worker, but in other cases they may not be the best options for workers. If someone is hurt because of a workplace injury accident, it is vital to seek the best medical treatment available. Once a workers' compensation claim is filed, appropriate medical treatment can be sought and all related medical expenses may be covered. The injured worker is also entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits if they are unable to work following an injury. The Massachusetts workers' compensation system can be complex and difficult to navigate and an experienced professional can assist injured workers in obtaining all of the benefits they are entitled to receive.

Source: Boston.com, "Few physicians are following prescribing guidelines for painkillers, study finds," Kay Lazar, Oct. 2, 2012

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