Narcotics Prescribing

A Closer Look at WC Narcotics Abuse

According to a study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, the average injured worker in New York and Louisiana received over 3,600 milligrams of morphine equivalent narcotics per claim (double the number in the typical state). That’s the equivalent of taking a 5-milligram Vicodin® tablet every four hours for four months continuously, or a 120-milligram morphine equivalent daily dose for an entire month.

MEA Chart cropped copy

Notes: The underlying data include surgical claims with more than seven days of lost time that had prescriptions filled by injured workers over the defined period, and paid for by a workers’ compensation payor. 2010/2012 refers to claims with injuries occurring in October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010 and prescriptions filled through March 31, 2012. Reported are the mean values of MEA per claim with narcotics after excluding a small percentage of claims that had unusually high amounts of narcotics.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute

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