Few people are drawing a connection between the misuse and substance abuse of opioids that is sweeping the United States and workers’ compensation insurance. However, for employees in New Jersey there is reason to believe that the governmental response to opioid abuse will directly impact the workers’ compensation scheme in the state.
Background Information on Opioid Misuse in New Jersey
Between 2004 and 2015 the number of drug overdoses in New Jersey exponentially grew, and most of the deaths are from an overdose of heroine or morphine. There were only 362 heroine and morphine deaths in 2004, but a scary 961 deaths in 2015. This rise in fatalities from opioids is due in part to fentanyl, an incredibly strong and dangerous opioid, being mixed with street heroine.
What mirrors this epidemic in illegal opioids is the misuse of prescription painkillers in New Jersey. Data shows that for many heroine users, there was a progression of prescription drug addiction to the stronger, illegal drug. It is this progression that New Jersey wants to stop, or at the very least diminish.
To this effect, on February 15, 2017, Governor Chris Christie signed into law new restrictions on the prescription of opioids and certain other drugs in Senate Bill 3. These restrictions are likely to change how workers’ compensation doctors are able to treat patients and what information an employer will receive due to reporting requirements in the law.
New Requirements of Senate Bill 3
There are two major impositions on …Read More