Longer-Term Dispensing of Opioids, 4th Edition

By Dongchun Wang

August 3, 2017 Related Topics: Prescription Drugs and Opioids

The study examines the prevalence and trends of longer-term dispensing of opioids in 26 state workers’ compensation systems. It also documents how often the services (i.e., drug testing, psychological evaluation and treatment, etc.) recommended by treatment guidelines were used for managing chronic opioid therapy. This study also serves as a tool to monitor the results of recent public policy changes regarding the use and long-term use of opioids.

This study uses data comprising over 400,000 nonsurgical workers’ compensation claims with more than seven days of lost time, and over 2 million prescriptions are associated with these claims from 26 states. These claims had injuries in 2010 and 2013 and received on average up to 24 months of medical treatment. The sample of claims in the study represents 36–69 percent of workers’ compensation claims in each state.

The 26 states in the study are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Longer-Term Dispensing of Opioids, 4th Edition. Dongchun Wang. August 2017. WC-17-29.

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Research Questions:

  • What was the recent trend in the longer-term dispensing of opioids in the 26 study states?
  • How did the prevalence of longer-term dispensing of opioids in my state compare with others?
  • What policy tools are available that might help reduce unnecessary opioid use?
  • How often were drug testing and other guideline-recommended services provided to injured workers receiving longer-term opioids?

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