TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Opioids are prescribed differently to injured workers, with factors such as age, gender, type of job and size of business making a difference, a new workers’ compensation insurance report shows.
Released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, the report shows that men are more likely than women to be given opioid prescriptions to help with pain relief, and older workers are more likely to be prescribed opioids than younger workers.
When injured male workers receive prescriptions for pain relief, they get prescriptions for opioids 46 percent of the time, compared to 42 percent of the time for women, according to the report.
Injured workers age 55 and older received prescriptions for opioids 49 percent of the time when they required pain medication.
Workers between the ages of 25 and 39 were written opioid prescriptions 42 percent of the time.
In reaching its findings, the Cambridge, Mass.-based Workers Compensation Research Institute analyzed 1.4 million pain-medication prescriptions filled within 18 months of injuries that occurred between Oct. 1, 2014, and September 30, 2015, in 27 states, including Florida.
Workers employed in mining and construction industries are more likely than workers in other industries to receive prescriptions for opioids and are more likely to receive opioids on a longer-term basis and at higher doses.
One in seven mining workers and one in eight construction workers who received opioid prescriptions had at least 60 days of opioids within a 90-day period, compared to less than one in 10 workers in other industries.
Workers employed in small businesses -- less than $4 million in payroll -- were also more likely to be dispensed opioid prescriptions compared with workers employed in relatively larger firms.
To address a growing opioid crisis, the Florida Legislature in 2017 passed a wide-ranging bill that included imposing limits on prescriptions for treatment of acute pain.