Number of dependent injured workers dropped 19% in 2017

COLUMBUS – The number of opioid-dependent injured workers in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation system fell 19 percent in 2017, the sixth consecutive year the numbers have fallen under BWC’s efforts to reduce opioid use and build a model pharmacy program.

BWC Pharmacy Director Nick Trego told the agency’s board of directors Thursday that the number of injured workers who met or exceeded the threshold of being clinically dependent on opioids fell to 3,315 at the end of fiscal year 2017, a 19 percent drop from 2016 and a 59 percent decrease since 2011.

“That means we have 4,714 fewer injured workers at risk for opioid addiction, overdose and death than we had in 2011,” said Trego, speaking before the board’s Medical Services and Safety committee. “These falling numbers are the direct result of our efforts to improve our protocols, more closely monitor our opioid population and encourage best practices from our prescribers. But we also have to give credit to the growing awareness of the opioid epidemic and efforts by the health care community, government and others to do something about it.”