Workers who have had an injury severe enough to warrant the use of narcotic pain killers for an extended period of time are at risk for becoming dependent on the powerful substances that can sometimes lead to physical dependence or prescription drug addiction. Prescription drug abuse has been in the news a lot lately and it makes me concerned for my clients who have been the victim of a severe injury that causes them to be dependent on narcotics to control their pain. Don’t get me wrong, I know that many of the injured workers out there who have been the victim of a traumatic injury often need pain killers and they are properly prescribed by their physician but, never the less, prescription drug addiction still happens.
If you are taking a highly addictive or powerful drug, you may want to talk to your doctor about the warning signs that you are becoming dependent or addicted. Or, if you have an addictive personality, you may want to make your doctor aware of this to avoid putting you at unnecessary risk. This is not medical advice, rather it is just information that I want injured workers to be educated on – DO NOT discontinue any medications without talking to your doctor first.
If you are or do become addicted to prescription drugs, there are treatment programs available to injured workers and the workers’ compensation insurance company may be responsible to pay for this treatment if it is found to be a result of the work injury. If you find yourself in a situation like this, I strongly recommend consulting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to get the specifics of your circumstances addressed.
If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.