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High use of opiates indicates high number of back injuries

In a recent study of opiate use, overuse and overdose, it was determined that significant number of people were given opiates following a workplace back injury. While it might make sense to give opiates immediately following a work-related back injury, prescribing such powerful painkillers after the first six weeks may not be that helpful.

Although the focus of the study was to get more information opiate addictions, individuals who are seeking opiates for a back injury can give valuable information about the number of people with work-related injuries in Colorado. While it certainly won't capture all of the data surrounding these serious injuries in Colorado, it is a good starting point.

Back injuries can be relatively minor, but it is also possible that a workplace accident can lead to a very serious and potentially paralyzing back injury. It is no wonder that many people who have chronic back pain from work seek out serious painkillers, especially when the injury is particularly severe. Although it is certainly important for a physician to monitor how much of an addictive painkiller an injured employee is taking, the data indicate that workplace accidents are causing considerable back injuries.

When a back injury becomes so severe that an employee is no longer able to work, he or she is likely in need of medical intervention. Whether it is a long-term prescription for painkillers or a more invasive procedure, most injured employees will need to apply for workers' compensation benefits to help fund their medical treatment and to cover lost wages during the recovery period.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Opioid Epidemic Plagues Workers' Comp," Denise Johnson and Don Jergler, May 17, 2013

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