A Springfield MO worker receives a back injury on the job, and goes on Missouri workers' compensation. His injury is not serious, but extremely painful, with excruciating muscle spasms. His doctor prescribes an opioid painkiller, and the worker is able to get immediate relief while he is at home, healing from his injury. Sounds good so far, doesn't it?
But an increasing problem doctors have been seeing here in Missouri and across the country is that the worker becomes addicted to the painkilling drug, using higher and higher amounts--sometimes even dying from an overdose.
It is this exact situation that has led to various states implementing medical guidelines that limit the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to workers' compensation claimants.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) opioids are basically prescription narcotics, such as morphine (Kadian, Avinza), codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet), and others. They say that when taken as directed, opioids are a safe method of pain relief. However, long-term use of opioids has been repeatedly shown to physical dependence and addiction. Taking a large single dose of an opioid has proven fatal.