Posts Tagged "painkillers"
November 8, 2022
A New Link Between Opioids and Disability
Picture a worker who has an injury so traumatic that he or she is rushed to the emergency room. A doctor prescribes an opioid to ease the pain.
A new working paper adds to the growing evidence that taking opioids, even when necessary, can have serious long-term consequences for workers’ career paths.
Michael Dworsky at RAND found that workers who received prescription opioids after visiting Colorado emergency rooms were far more likely to enroll in Medicare before turning 65 than people who didn’t get a prescription to treat an injury. Starting Medicare before 65 almost always indicates that someone has left the labor force and is receiving benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance, the primary social program for workers with disabilities.
Dworsky reached similar findings in three different analyses, which used Medicare enrollment within four years of an emergency room visit as a rough proxy for whether workers are receiving the federal disability benefits.
People who had taken opioids prior to being injured were the most likely to leave the labor force. After an emergency room visit resulted in a new opioid prescription, more than 2 percent of the previous users wound up on Medicare and disability – a rate that is four times higher than for traumatic-injury patients who had never previously taken opioids.
Dworsky also examined the morphine-equivalent doses that were dispensed to patients over time. The probability of receiving prescription opioids spiked immediately after workers’ injuries and then stabilized at a higher level than before the injuries. …Learn More