Vicodin. Percocet. Percodan. OxyContin. Fentanyl. Tylenol with Codeine. These are just a few of the prescription painkillers known as opioids on the market that injured workers may be taking with the advice of their doctors. But how many of those workers can stop using the painkillers as they return to work?

According to recent media reports, opioid abuse among injured workers is growing, partially as a result of over-prescription by doctors who don't want to see their patients in pain. Although the issue is widespread across all industries, two new reports from CNA, the eighth largest commercial insurance writer in the U.S., find that the construction and manufacturing industries are particularly at risk for such abuse. The reports—Construction: Prescription Opioid Abuse and Manufacturing: Prescription Opioid Abuse—use CNA claim data to provide risk management strategies to address this issue.

"The opioid abuse epidemic is taking a toll on many aspects of the U.S. economy, including businesses' workers' compensation losses," said Bill Boyd, senior vice president, Risk Control for CNA. "The delay of returning injured employees to work can affect operations and, therefore, negatively impact a company's bottom line. Opioid abuse is a real and emerging risk for businesses to consider, and through these Risk Outlooks, I hope our customers will learn solutions to avoid return-to-work pitfalls."

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Rosalie Donlon

Rosalie Donlon is the editor in chief of ALM's insurance and tax publications, including NU Property & Casualty magazine and NU You can contact her at [email protected].