Prescription painkiller use is at an all time high in America. Eighty percent of the world’s opioid prescriptions are taken in the US, yet we make-up just 4.6 percent of the world’s population. That means we’re consuming 83 painkillers for every one pill the average person takes around the world. So it’s no surprise that a recent lead story on WorkCompWire centered on a widow whose husband overdosed on oxycodone (an opioid) and she was able to sue the employer for death benefits. Her husband was prescribed the meds due to a serious work-related accident.
We are hearing these types of stories throughout society today and it’s impacting even the most innocent lives. Doctors in Florida, and in other areas of the country, are seeing a surge in babies born hooked on prescription pain pills. In my own family, I can pinpoint a real example. My grandmother, bless her heart, has had two serious injuries in the past couple of years (multiple back vertebrae fractured and her pelvis fractured). Both are excruciating. Both times the hospital over prescribed oxycontin to the point she was addicted and was seeing bugs on the walls. Twice she had to go through withdrawal. The second time my grandmother and family told the medical team what had happened before. We requested that they avoid the use of prescription meds this time, but we discovered they gave them to her anyway.
The vast majority of these prescriptions are unnecessary. You see, opioids are a form of palliative treatment, meaning they are used to address symptoms but do not address or heal the cause. They are basically a synthetic heroin or opium and they’re hurting the health of patients and driving up healthcare costs. Rising is developing more data analytics tools to help our clients and society manage this epidemic and help patients have a better, healthier quality of life.