The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation voted Friday to no longer prescribe the powerful opioid Oxycontin to workers injured on the job.
According to a Friday press release from the BWC, Chief Medical Officer Terry Welsh recommended that the drug be phased out of the organization’s formulary (a list of drugs the BWC will cover when prescribed), and the Board of Directors voted in favor of following his directive.
Oxycontin will be replaced with Xtampza ER, which Welsh called “an equally effective but harder-to-abuse drug.”
“Xtampza is a sustained-release form of oxycodone, like Oxycontin, but it utilizes a unique abuse-deterrent technology that makes it difficult to manipulate—crush, snort or inject—for aberrant use,” Welsh elaborated. “Thanks to technology, this just seems like the next responsible step to protect our injured workers from potential addiction and overdose death to dangerous drugs.”
Oxycontin will be phased out of BWC’s system staring July 1, a move that also follows the recommendation of BWC’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. The establishment of that committee was one of several precautionary steps the BWC took to “mitigate the opioid epidemic’s impact on Ohio’s workforce,” the press release states.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) applauded the BWC’s decision, calling it “the responsible thing to do.”
“When an on-the-job injury causes someone serious discomfort, we want that worker to get the needed pain relief, but we also want to ensure that work injuries don’t lead to addiction,” DeWine said. “I commend BWC for taking this step to prevent addiction among injured workers.”
Since 2011, the number of opioid doses prescribed to injured workers in the BWC system has decreased by 66 percent, according to the press release.
“I applaud Dr. Welsh, our medical staff and the BWC Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee for their concerted efforts in this area,” BWC CEO Stephanie McCloud said. “As Gov. Mike DeWine stated, no one single person or agency will solve this crisis—it takes a collective effort. Our work continues, and I am proud we are doing our part.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Drugs” by Brandon Giesbrecht. CC BY-SA 2.0.