One state’s successful strategies for reducing the number of injured workers at risk for opioid addiction will be shared with workers compensation experts from around the country at the upcoming Workers Compensation Research Institute’s (WCRI) conference in Boston.

In 2011, the OBWC found that more than 8,000 injured workers were opioid-dependent for taking the equivalent of at least 60 mg a day of morphine for 60 or more days. By the end of 2017, that number was reduced to 3,315, which meant 4,714 fewer injured workers were at risk for opioid addiction, overdose, and death than in 2011.

At the WCRI’s 34th Annual Research & Issues Conference, March 22-23, a session entitled, “Saving Lives—Building a Modern Pharmacy Program amid a Deadly Epidemic,” will feature Dr. Terrence Welsh, OBWC’s chief medical officer. Welsh will discuss the interventions the OBWC used to address the opioid epidemic, the impact of those interventions, and what the OBWC has on the horizon to build on its successes.

“The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (OBWC) has taken some important steps to address the opioid issue. We thought it would be valuable for our audience to learn what they are doing,” said WCRI president and CEO John Ruser.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Work and the Comp System: Evolution, Disruption, and the Future.” WCRI’s two-day program highlights the Institute’s latest research findings while drawing upon the diverse perspectives of highly respected workers’ compensation experts and policymakers from across the country. The following are some of the other session titles: 

  • “Future Labor Force Trends and the Impact of Technology”
  • “Who Is Ready for Value-Based Care?”
  • “Scenarios: Workers' Compensation 2030”
  • “Impact of Opioids and Prescription Drugs on the Workplace”
  • “Does Medical Marijuana Shift Prescription Drug Spending?”
  • “The World of Work Is Changing―Fast. Are You Prepared?”

The WCRI conference is a leading workers’ compensation forum for policymakers, employers, labor advocates, insurance executives, health care organizations, claims managers, researchers, and others. Conference participants will leave with new insights, valuable networking contacts, and a better understanding of key issues in today’s competitive environment. To learn more or to register, visit   

About WCRI:

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.