Pennsylvania is one of the states prescribing the most opioids for patients in the Workers’ Compensation system. In response to those numbers and the known link between opioids and addiction, legislators are proposing a change in how Pennsylvania prescribes medication for injured employees receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits. A bill is currently under consideration in the Pennsylvania House in Harrisburg requiring more standardized prescriptions guidelines along with additional approval required before opioids can be prescribed.
Under the bill, Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation system would operate under a standard drug formulary. The hope is that uniform guidelines would prevent the unnecessary prescription of highly-addictive painkillers. Drugs included in the formulary would be based on medical research and FDA approval. The formulary would apply to all types of medication, not just opioids. In addition to prescription guidelines, the bill would standardize treatment for Workers’ Compensation patients in Pennsylvania.
Nationwide Opioid Epidemic
Opium is a naturally occurring pain reliever used to formulate opiates including morphine and heroin. Opioids are synthetically manufactured drugs that are designed to act like opiates, as they contain similar molecules. Some of the most commonly prescribed opioids are Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin, and Demerol. These drugs work by attaching to the molecules in the brain that tell the brain how painful something is. They disrupt these messages and send a message to the brain that the pain is reduced. Opiates and opioids do not take the pain away; rather, they change the way the pain is felt.
Once the standard treatment for acute pain, opiate and opioid drugs have come under a great deal of scrutiny over the past few decades. While opiates and opioids reduce the feelings of pain in the body, they also create feelings of elation and relaxation. Patients continue to use opioids longer than necessary or at higher doses than prescribed because they are chasing those euphoric feelings – leaving them highly vulnerable to addiction. When opioid addicts can no longer get legally prescribed medication, they often turn to highly–addictive and dangerous street drugs like heroin.
In 2015, 3,505 people died of drug overdoses in the state of Pennsylvania, more than all the people killed in fatal car accidents. By overhauling the way doctors prescribe opioids to patients receiving Workers’ Compensation, lawmakers hope to put a dent in the public health crisis that is opioid addiction. Opponents to the bill argue it is too cookie-cutter to provide the best patient care possible and is still in need of some modification.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at E.S. Borjeson & Associates Obtain Crucial Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Injured Workers
If you are injured at work, a skilled Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer will advocate for the benefits you deserve. Without guidance, your award could be inadequate for the illness or injuries you sustained. Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the law firm of E.S. Borjeson & Associates understand Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation laws and how to make the most of your claim. Call our Philadelphia office today to discuss your situation at 215-772-3020 or contact us online.
E.S. Borjeson & Associates serve clients throughout Pennsylvania including Chester County, Delaware County, and Philadelphia County, and the towns of Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Upper Darby, Sharon Hill, Wynnewood, Narberth, Clifton Heights, Folcroft, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Havertown, Cheltenham, Ardmore, Norwood, Holmes, Essington, Elkins Park, Prospect Park, and Gladwyne.