Why Are Massachusetts Workers Comp Patients Denied Opioid Prescriptions?

New data shows that Massachusetts doctors aren’t prescribing opioids to patients as often as they once did. Given the high rate of opioid prescription in this state in the past, this decrease may be a positive change for patients dealing with chronic injuries, pain and other issues. Boston workers’ compensation lawyer John J. Sheehan explains why patients with injuries and pain that are no longer receiving opioid prescriptions must now find other treatment alternatives.

Why Are Opioids Prescribed?

Opioids are a specific type of medication often prescribed to relieve pain. Examples of common opioids include codeine, morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. They work by decreasing the intensity of the signals reaching the brain when the body is in pain. These drugs are usually effective, but they can also be habit-forming. In addition, some patients may build up a tolerance to opioids, causing them to require a higher dosage of the drug for the same effect. As a result, doctors and nurse practitioners are now becoming more cautious about opioids, thus explaining the decrease in the frequency of opioid prescriptions in 2016.

About the Report

According to the Boston Globe, a recent analysis showed that the number of opioid prescriptions issued by physicians in Massachusetts had dropped by 25 percent since the beginning of 2015. This drop was much more significant that the average decrease for the nation as a whole, which was only 13 percent. Specifically, at the beginning of 2015, the percentage of patients prescribed opioids in Massachusetts was 7 percent. By the end of the first quarter in 2016, the percentage of patients prescribed opioids in Massachusetts had fallen to 5.2 percent.

Massachusetts’ Past Trends

In recent years, patients in Massachusetts had been receiving prescriptions for opioids at an alarming rate. Deaths and overdose related to opioids were also increasing. For example, in 2014 alone, at least 1,047 people in Massachusetts died from intentional or unintentional opioid overdose. The number of deaths had been increasing consistently since 2000.

Opioid Alternatives

Although a decrease in the frequency of opioid prescriptions is perceived as a positive change, some patients may not see it that way. For people suffering from chronic pain and/or injuries, the loss of access to a medication that could relieve symptoms can be frightening. Fortunately, there are alternatives to opioids for patients dealing with chronic physical problems. Depending on the specifics of the patient’s condition, alternatives may include physical therapy, other types of medication and/or surgical procedures.

Seeking Compensation

Chronic and/or severe injuries are always difficult to face, especially when they cause pain. If you have been injured simply because you were doing your job, your situation is even more challenging. Fortunately, you may be able to recover benefits from workers’ compensation to help with some of your expenses, including the cost of prescription medications and medical care. With this compensation, you will be able to get the care you need, whether that involves medications, physical therapy, surgical procedures, time off work or some other method of recovery.

In many cases, workers’ compensation will initially deny a valid claim. However, even if you have already been denied, you may still be able to qualify for the benefits you deserve with the help of a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney. To learn more about your options, please contact John J. Sheehan.

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I was injured at work in 2019 and John and his team made the process as simple as anyone could!! They took care of everything! The only thing I had to do is rest and go to doctor appointments! I would HIGHLY recommend anyone looking for an attorney to hire John Sheehan - if you would like a nice and easy process in a highly stressful situation and on top of it attorney Sheehan will get you the maximum of what your case is worth!

John Sheehan y su personal son muy amables, corteses, rápidos y explican todo a fondo. Hicieron un trabajo maravilloso para mi esposo y para mí y no podría recomendar un abogado más calificado. Hizo TODO lo que pudo por mi esposo y por mí a través de la compensación de trabajadores. He recomendado y continuaré recomendando a John a cualquiera de mis amistades que necesiten sus destrezas. Trabajo asombroso. John, Muchas gracias tanto de Al como de mí. No puedo agradecerte lo suficiente por hacer todo lo posible por nosotros. Cada vez que teníamos una pregunta, devolvía nuestras llamadas rápidamente. Esperamos no haberte vuelto loco. Si alguna vez necesitamos un abogado para algo, USTED será a quien llamemos. Muchas gracias de nuevo. ¡Gran trabajo! John, me gustaría darte las gracias aunque Judy ya lo hizo. Usted es el major y el personal de su oficina responden llamadas en seguida. Definitivamente lo recomendaremos a nuestros amigos si necesitan sus servicios. ¡Gracias nuevamente por un trabajo bien hecho!

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