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Opioid Use Trends Decreased?

In last week’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine ( http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1406143#t=article ) Richard Dart, MD et al. published that opioid diversion and abuse trends have “plateaued and or decreased between 2011 and 2013.” – which is wonderful news. But, Claims Eval remains skeptical that these results extend and/or extrapolate to the worker’s compensation population. Laudably, more and more carriers are participating in utilization review for prescription medications. Yet many carriers remain apprehensive about the perceived risk of drug withdrawal, the costs associated with treatment for this complication, and finally a perceived legal risk of this complication. Certainly, one must weigh all factors when making determinations regarding drug utilization, but Claims Eval looks forward to the day when the results of this study not only apply to injured workers – but when the results for workers’ compensation surpass that of the general population.