The Changing Landscape of Opioid Use in Workers Compensation Cases

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

The issue of opioid use in workers compensation cases has been a topic of concern for many years. However, recent data suggests a shift in the trend, with a decrease in opioid prescriptions but an increase in prescriptions for managing opioid dependency. This article delves into these trends and discusses the importance of workers compensation insurance for small businesses.

According to a recent report by Enlyte LLC, there has been a significant change in the pattern of opioid use in workers compensation cases. In 2022, opioid prescriptions saw a decrease of 1.3%, and the associated costs dropped by 2.5%. This continues the trend observed over the past few years, where fewer injured workers are being prescribed opioids. As of the latest report, 23.8% of injured workers are currently taking opioids.However, while opioid prescriptions are decreasing, prescriptions related to managing opioid dependency and potential overdoses have seen an increase. The report shows an 11% rise in such prescriptions in 2022. Furthermore, claims involving high-dosage opioids paired with naloxone, a medication used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose, rose to 7.3%, up from 5.8% in 2021.

The Importance of Workers Compensation Insurance for Small Businesses

While the trends in opioid use are noteworthy, it’s also crucial to understand the importance of workers compensation insurance, especially for small businesses. Workers compensation insurance is a type of coverage that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment. It’s a critical safety net that protects both the employee and the employer.For small businesses, having workers compensation insurance is not just a legal requirement in many states, but it’s also a sound business decision. It helps cover the costs of medical care, rehabilitation, and lost wages for injured workers, which can be substantial and potentially devastating for a small business. Furthermore, it also protects the business from potential lawsuits by employees related to workplace injuries.

The Potential Impact of Opioid Use on Workers Compensation Insurance Costs

The trends in opioid use and dependency management can have significant implications for workers compensation insurance costs. When an employee is prescribed opioids for a workplace injury, it can lead to prolonged recovery times, increased medical costs, and extended periods of disability. These factors can all contribute to higher workers compensation insurance premiums.Moreover, the rise in prescriptions for managing opioid dependency and potential overdoses indicates a growing concern about the long-term health impacts of opioid use. These treatments can also add to the overall cost of a claim, further driving up insurance costs.

Strategies for Small Businesses to Secure Affordable Workers Compensation Insurance

Given these potential cost implications, it’s crucial for small businesses to take proactive steps to reduce their workers compensation insurance expenses. Here are a few strategies:

  1. Prioritize Workplace Safety: Implementing robust safety protocols can reduce the risk of workplace injuries, thereby lowering the need for opioid prescriptions and other costly treatments.
  2. Early Intervention: Promptly addressing injuries when they occur can prevent them from escalating into more serious conditions that require more extensive and expensive treatments.
  3. Return-to-Work Programs: These programs focus on getting injured employees back to work as soon as medically possible, which can help reduce the costs associated with long-term disability.
  4. Shop Around: Insurance rates can vary significantly between providers. Therefore, it’s beneficial to get quotes from multiple insurance companies to ensure you’re getting the best possible rate.
  5. Regularly Review Your Policy: As your business changes, so too should your workers compensation insurance. Regularly reviewing your policy can help ensure it accurately reflects your current business operations and risk exposure.

By implementing these strategies, small businesses can help mitigate the potential cost impacts of opioid use in workers compensation cases and secure more affordable insurance coverage.

Here are the best workers comp insurance companies for your consideration.


The landscape of opioid use in workers compensation cases is changing, with a decrease in opioid prescriptions but an increase in prescriptions for managing opioid dependency. As these trends continue to evolve, it’s crucial for small businesses to understand the importance of workers compensation insurance. By providing coverage for their employees, they can protect their business from potential financial burdens and ensure a safer, healthier workplace.

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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