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published on September 13, 2022 - 4:09 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund) announced last week that despite the pandemic spurring alarming opioid use and fatalities nationwide, the overall number of opioid prescriptions has dropped significantly.

The announcement stated that the number of opioid prescriptions for injured workers under its care has been reduced by 82% since 2014.

State Fund also announced that over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pattern continued, seeing a 14% decrease in the number of prescribed opioids for injured workers, even with increasing opioid use and overdoses reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse 2022.

State Fund also reported a nearly 80% decrease in the number of claimants using opioid prescriptions — and a 4.6% decrease during the pandemic. The number of patients prescribed high-dose opioid medication for three or more months also decreased by 91% from 2014-2021, and saw an 11% decrease from 2020-2021.

“State Fund’s approach to reducing opioid use has continually been fine-tuned over the years,” said Dinesh Govindarao, chief medical officer at State Fund. “Our results show that conscious, sustained education for patients and medical providers, paired with peer-to-peer physician collaboration, are invaluable tools in tackling the opioid crisis.”

The opioid reduction program aims to motivate physicians to avoid or reduce the amount of opioid medicines prescribed to injured workers, as well as educating injured workers about the risks of opioid use.

State Fund’s program focuses on early prevention and intervention, relapse and delayed recovery response programs, as well as reduction of chronic opioid usage in previously existing cases.

In addition to the three focal points, the program also includes peer-to-peer physician reviews, as well as education for physicians and injured workers, and support for those who are struggling with addiction.

“Our hope is to see more providers adopt reduction programs, whether they take a comprehensive approach like ours or focus on specific issues,” Govindarao said.

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