Putting a STOP to Opiate Abuse
Abuse of opioid drugs for treating pain is emerging as the top problem in workers’ compensation today. The human and financial costs resulting from improper prescribing of these powerful and dangerous drugs are staggering. Accidental deaths and addiction from opiates are growing in proportion to their increased use, and are exceeding the rates seen from heroin abuse.
The opiate problem also presents an opportunity to change the situation. It’s a huge challenge, but we can do something about it. Keenan created the STOP program – Saving The Opiate Patient – to help turn this around. STOP brings together data analysis, professional clinical intervention and diversion to help injured workers get appropriate treatment and return them to productive work.
At our recent Keenan Summit, two of our STOP professionals presented a great overview of the opiate problem and its solutions. Nicole Wakim, MD, anesthesiologist and physician consultant for STOP and Valerie Woerndle, Registered Pharmacist from Express Scripts Inc. outlined the scope of the workers’ compensation opiate issue and what we can do about it. If you weren’t able to attend the Summit, or if you’d like to review it again, here is the presentation: