Prescription Opioid Risks to the Workplace Explored at RIMS 2018

When the White House declared opioid use a national Public Health Emergency under federal law in 2017, businesses began reviewing their policies and making efforts to curb their employees’ abuse of the drug in its prescribed form. This escalating risk to organizations is why the business impact of prescription opioid use was such a hot topic at RIMS 2018, where a session on April 17 focused on the practical and bottom-line costs of workforce use of prescription opioids. In a session the next day, attendees learned how liability policies are responding to government-led lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, and how to prepare for similar suits brought against other industries.

New Insights into the Impact of Opioid Prescribing to Injured Workers

Data displayed on Tuesday explored opioid-related correlations between worker, industry and employer. Presenters John Ruser, president and CEO of the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) and Michael Fenlon, senior director of corporate risk management for United Parcel Service (UPS) discussed opioid-related claims and suggested evidence-based information that can encourage a return to work without the prescriptions.

The effectiveness of prescription drug monitoring policies (PDMP) was explored, and Ruser explained that a reactive shift among prescribers has meant that states obligated to adhere to these policies have fewer prescriptions written.

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