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Study: opioid prescriptions elongate work-injury leaves

When you suffer an on-the-job injury at your Charlotte workplace, the first thing on your mind is getting medical attention to ease the pain and to begin the healing process. A new study shows injured workers spend more time recuperating from their injuries when they receive long-term opioid prescriptions.

Researchers at the Workers Compensation Research Institute say that prescription opioids stretch out the amount of time workers are away from their jobs with lower back injuries. According to their study, North Carolina has one of the highest opioid prescription rates in the nation.

The states with the highest average opioid prescription rates:

  • Louisiana: 87 percent
  • Alabama: 85 percent
  • North Carolina: 82 percent
  • Tennessee: 82 percent

Researchers said that when they compare longer-term opioid prescriptions with short-term or no opioid prescriptions, the effect of long-term prescriptions "is to triple the duration of temporary disability benefits."

The states with the highest average longer-term opioid prescription rates:

  • Louisiana: 30 percent
  • South Carolina: 18 percent
  • Georgia: 17 percent
  • North Carolina: 16 percent

Opioids are sometimes prescribed for pain relief for workers who have suffered back injuries, as well as those who sustain neck, shoulder, ribcage, hand, knee and foot injuries. The medications are also sometimes used to help burn victims.

The researchers analyzed data from 28 states collected from 2008 through 2013, according to a recent news article.

If you have injured while on the job and have had your workers' compensation claim denied, you can speak with an attorney experienced in appealing North Carolina workers' comp decisions.

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