Is Substance Abuse Hurting Your Business?

Every day, businesses of all sizes and types file Orlando Workers Compensation claims on behalf of employees who become injured or sickened on the job. There are many reasons why workers comp claims are filed. One common side effect that most workers comp patients share is severe pain. Often, physicians prescribe powerful opioids to alleviate the pain. Sometimes, that leads to addiction. Is substance abuse hurting your business? You may not realize it, but it’s possible — especially if you have employees who have been injured on the job.

Opioid Abuse is Rampant

When an employee is injured on the job, he’s often in pain and depressed about his injury, and home recuperating with lots of free time on his hands. In the beginning, he may take his prescribed medication as directed. In a staggering number of cases, patients come to abuse their pain medications to escape not just the physical pain but to numb their emotional pain. They become reliant on their pain medications. In other words, they become addicted. They may overstate their physical pain so they’ll continue to have access to pain pills. They lose interest in recovering and returning to work. Instead, they become consumed with securing pain medications.

Opioid Abuse Costs You

According to in-depth article published by the “New York Times,” the average cost of a workers comp claim involving time off of work is about $13,000. When the injured employee is prescribed an opioid like Percocet for pain management that costs jumps to $39,000. When the injured employees is prescribed the most powerful category of opioid, a long-acting medication such as Oxycontin, the average claim jumps to an astounding $117,000, which is 900 percent more expensive than a claim in which a patient doesn’t use opioids.

What can you do? In some cases, an injured party’s pain is so severe that prescribing an opioid is a physician’s only option. As an employer, knowledge is power. You can opt to limit the number of doctors authorized to prescribe pain medications for injured works, and you can screen prescription habits to identify employees who may be abusing their medications. There are ways to structure your workers comp policy to minimize the risks that workers will become addicted to their pain meds. To learn more, contact us at Newman Crane & Associates Insurance, (407) 859-3691.