Opioid use has run rampant all over the United States with thousands of people losing their lives every year. Opioids are extremely dangerous, particularly due to the fact they are so addictive. Unfortunately, many people's addictions begin with legal, prescribed painkillers they received after an accident. When it comes to many workers' comp claims, doctors are quick to prescribe opioids to help the individual manage the pain, but it is vital to be aware of the risks and potential for addiction.
Researchers have begun to look into the link between injuries sustained in the workplace and the potential for addiction later in life. Some of the most common injuries workers from any field can experience include chronic joint pain, permanent disability, strains, sprains and crushes. Some people may be in extreme pain while others are only in mild discomfort, but far too many doctors want to prescribe opioids no matter what.
What leads to addiction?
One report found that up to 30 percent of injured workers still used their prescribed painkillers three months after the initial injury. This greatly increases the odds of addiction. Some of the most common opioids employees have prescribed are Vicodin and OxyContin. People misuse these drugs until they need a bigger fix to attain the same high. At this point, many people around the country turn to fentanyl and heroin. The rise of the opioid epidemic should have many doctors wary about what they prescribe.
What can doctors do?
Prescribing painkillers is simple, but doctors really need to start looking into other forms of treatment for those who suffer from chronic pain. Physical therapy has proven to be a highly effective treatment that does not require the individual to ingest any pills. Ultimately, opioids are not incredibly effective with long-term pain management. Alternative therapies or painkillers that do not contain any opioids should be the first step.