WORK INJURIES AND OPIOID ADDICTION

One of the dirty little secrets of workers compensation in the United States is the prevalence of opioid addiction among injured workers. Last year on Fresh Air, the NPR program, Michelle Zumwalt described her addiction to Demerol, which was prescribed for severe headaches. Soon she would get headaches if she didn't get her shot and she eventually became hopelessly addicted. There is considerable evidence that long-term opioid use has limited value in controlling chronic pain. Anyone relying on opioids to control pain during the acute phase following an injury or surgery should understand the dangers associated with long-term use.

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