A recent study released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute has shown many doctors, including several in Massachusetts, are not following proper procedures and treatment guidelines when prescribing narcotic painkillers to injured workers. The Boston Globe reports that nearly one in 12 injured employees who were given prescription painkillers, like Oxycodone or Vicodin, were still taking the medications up to six months after their injuries occurred.
Prolonged use of such medications can result in both a tolerance buildup and can lead to dependency. Experts say a rise in accidental overdose deaths has directly correlated with the dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions written for these narcotic drugs since 1999.
Doctors are supposed to follow a strict set of guidelines when prescribing such medications to patients receiving Boston workers’ compensation benefits, such as patients receiving psychiatric exams on a regular basis while receiving the drugs.
To combat the problem, Massachusetts has set up a prescription monitoring program so doctors can look into patients’ history to ensure they haven’t received similar medications from other doctors in the past year. Officials hope the program can curb the number of patients who “doctor shop” for narcotic medications.
The MA Personal Injury Lawyers with Jason Stone Injury Lawyers can only hope that the program will be successful in improving the care that injured workers need in order to get back to work.