The last thing on your mind when you sustain a job site injury is the risk of becoming addicted to drugs. Your main concern is seeking medical treatment, focusing on recovery and figuring out finances until (and if) you can go to work again.
Workers’ compensation benefits can take care of the financial worries temporarily or permanently depending on your situation. Unfortunately, they may also be the reason for developing dependency on painkillers and illegal substances.
The problem with opioid prescriptions
A debilitating injury requires powerful medication to relieve the pain so you can get through the day. Your doctor may prescribe opioids, such as Oxycodone. While helpful, they also come with a high risk of dependency. This can lead to abuse of prescription medication.
The link to heroin use
Even worse, if workers’ compensation benefits stop or deny you more medication, you may end up turning to heroin instead. Risk & Insurance reports that opioid users changing to heroin is an increasing problem in workers’ comp cases. The two drugs have high correlation rates. A job injury can also indirectly lead to drug problems due to depression and anxiety from the event.
What you can do
If you have yet to receive a prescription, talk to your doctor about whether opioids are the right choice for you or if there is a safer, effective alternative. If painkillers are still the better choice, make sure you review with your provider proper usage and steps you can take to reduce the chances of dependency.
If you have already become addicted, whether to prescriptions or heroin, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit, as you would never have taken the medication in the first place if it were not for the workplace injury that occurred. However, this may be difficult to prove, so it will take a lot of work and evidence to show cause and effect.
If it is simply a matter of securing medication you have a right to receive, you can take legal action to get insurance to cover the prescription.