By Dawn Castillo, MPH and John Howard, MD

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released troubling statistics on the growing epidemic of drug and opioid overdose deaths in the United States. The origins of this epidemic have been linked to prescription opioids. While it is unknown how many drug and opioid overdose deaths are associated with workplace injuries and illnesses, it is clear that this national epidemic is impacting workers and employers.

A May 2014 NIOSH blog noted that injured workers are frequently treated with powerful prescription drugs. The blog reported on studies demonstrating that narcotics account for 25% of prescription costs in workers’ compensation systems and that those costs are rising.

An important avenue for combating prescription drug abuse are guidelines that health care providers can use to offer safer and more effective pain treatment. NIOSH’s sister agency at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), has released draft opioid prescribing guidelines and has invited public comment through January 13, 2016. NIOSH invites interested stakeholders to provide input on the draft CDC opioid prescribing guidelines. Comments need to be submitted directly to!documentDetail;D=CDC-2015-0112-0001.

In addition to work injuries and illnesses being the reason opioids are prescribed in the first place, there are...Click here to read the rest of the blog post..