As of June 1, 2019, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will not fund the prescription medication OxyContin, and its generic equivalent oxycodone, for injured workers. Workers who are part of this organization will have no compensation for this drug starting on December 31, 2019.
Ohio Governor Mark DeWine explicitly cited the nationwide opioid drug crisis as the motivating factor behind the ruling. While some versions of oxycodone will still be accepted under the bureau’s policies, this action is a statement about Ohio’s proactive approach to preventing substance abuse.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation provides a variety of services to many working Ohioans. The bureau’s 2018 report details ways that they are aiming to provide more comprehensive approaches to members’ health, including mental health services. They state that their ongoing oversight of clinic and pharmacy practices have diminished opioid dependence among injured workers by 65% since 2011.
How Common Are Opioids in Ohio?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the state of Ohio had the second highest reported number of opioid-related deaths in the United States in 2017. In 2011, there were 710 reported deaths as a result of opioid overdose. By 2017, the number had risen to 947 reported deaths. Leaders in Ohio have a significant opportunity to enact legislation and support local communities in substance abuse prevention initiatives.
Multiple service agencies work toward preventing and offering local support for people who struggle with drug use in Ohio. The Public Children Services Association of Ohio provides a Maternal Opiate Medical Support (MOMS) program. The Ohio Department of Health supervised a report by the University of Cincinnati that evaluated Ohio’s emergency care and prescription guidelines for opioids and other controlled substances.
How Do Opioids Impact the Ohio Workforce?
Some groups of people are uniquely susceptible to opioid abuse. Opioids have become stigmatized but are legitimate medications for pain management. When someone is injured in their place of work, it can create a chronic or painful condition that requires medical management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Ohio workers in the following jobs account for almost 70% of reported illnesses and injuries:
- Health services
The National Institutes of Health published a study in 2017 that explored the correlation between opioid prescription rates and participation in the labor force. As men between the ages of 25 and 54 begin taking prescription pain medication, their productivity in the workplace decreases, which could stem from a variety of factors.
Opioids are prescribed because of chronic pain, which assumes the worker could already be in a state of distress that negatively impacts their work life. Opioids are also highly addictive and, when misused, can alter states of consciousness or mental acuity. This effect can negatively affect someone’s work performance.
How Does Ohio Prevent and Treat Opioid Abuse?
Even before opioid addiction was acknowledged as a mainstream challenge for communities across America, former Ohio Governor John Kasich created the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT). That team, started in 2011, began and continues to promote opioid addiction prevention and recovery in the state of Ohio. Some of this team’s efforts include:
- Standardizing the message across multiple departments and platforms
- Data analysis and sharing
- Collaboration and complementary programs
- Mobilizing law enforcement
- Supporting local communities in prevention efforts
- Encouraging appropriate prescribing and medication use
Statewide efforts are united to limit access and prevent opiate addiction. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rule is another piece in this larger strategy to provide a clear path to addiction-free pain management to the residents of Ohio.
If you or someone you love needs help for a drug or alcohol addiction, The Recovery Village Columbus can help. Call today to learn more about rehab that could work for you.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in Ohio – 2017.” Published 2017. Accessed June 19, 2019.
Center for Health Care Strategies. “Combating Opioid Abuse through a Unified State and Local Response: The Ohio Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action.” Published May 2018. Accessed June 19, 2019.
Krueger, Alan B. “Where Have All the Workers Gone? An Inquiry into the Decline of the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate.” Brookings papers on economic activity, 2017. Accessed June 19, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Ohio Opioid Summary. Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths.” Revised March 2019. Accessed June 19, 2019.
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. “Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report.” Published 2018. Accessed June 19, 2019.
Public Children Services Association of Ohio. “Opiate Epidemic.” N.D. Accessed June 19, 2019.