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Worker's compensation face new drug obstacle in New Hampshire

Several bills are popping up in the New Hampshire Legislature targeted for fair labor laws. Some of these affect how worker's compensation patients will be treated for pain. State lawmakers are currently debating the new opioid drug, Zohydro. The medication, a strong formula similar to hydrocodone, has been routinely prescribed by physicians for patients in constant pain. It differs from Vicodin in that it is straight pain relief, uncut with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

The Federal Drug Administration sanctioned the drug but the Senate is trying to stall the motion.

New Hampshire is one of 28 states that has asked the FDA to reconsider its decision. This move could have an impact on workers suffering serious pain from work injuries or accidents.

One pain management specialist maintains Zohydro is a mild opioid with a low risk factor. He has prescribed it to patients in constant pain who cannot tolerate short-term Vicodin.

Representatives from the New Hampshire health department say prescription drug epidemic is rampant in the state, citing research supporting a vast increase in state deaths and addictions from 2000 to 2012.

Previous bills over pain medication have impacted those seeking worker's comp benefits for pain medication. Some lawmakers call for written agreements from the patient before prescribing the drug or placing a cap on the dosage.

A spokesperson from The National Council on Compensation Insurance says worker's compensation claims in the state are much higher than the national average. They say 15 percent of injured workers are taking oxycontin, more than double the number for the entire country.

When people are involved in a work-related accident, they frequently require strong medication for chronic and debilitating pain. They feel their situation is not the same as that of a substance abuser. A well-informed person can guide you through your treatment within the confines of the law without judging you. It is in your best interest to get help from someone who can best advise you as to how to proceed with getting proper relief from pain in a worker's compensation case.

Source: New Hampshire Public Radio, "Amid Opioid Crisis, Lawmakers Will Consider Banning A New Painkiller" Brian Wallstin, Apr. 15, 2014

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