Many U.S. states are using their workers' compensation programs to help slow the overprescribing of opioid prescriptions for injured workers. In addition, they are also trying to help those workers who are already addicted to the drugs avoid consequences that can include death.
Many workers who are injured on the job are prescribed drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin. According to one worker who was injured in 2004, OxyContin, Percocet and morphine were used to treat his pain and he says that the drugs ruined his life. He was not able to work and therefore could not afford his opioid habit. As a result, he started selling cocaine until he ended up arrested and in jail for two years. He now works as a licensed counselor, helping others who have become addicted and need treatment.