WCRI To Participate In National Rx Drug Abuse Summit

                               Cambridge, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) - In recognition of the Workers Compensation Research Institute's (WCRI) studies on the use and abuse of prescription medications in the treatment of injured workers, Dr. Richard Victor, Executive Director of WCRI, will join members of the U.S. Congress as well as many other federal, state and local policymakers and stakeholders at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit. The conference, to be held in Orlando, FL on April 10-12, is being hosted by Operation UNITE.

“It is an honor to be joining so many distinguished individuals at such an important forum,” said Dr. Richard Victor, WCRI's Executive Director. “The research WCRI has done on prescription medications in the treatment of injured workers shows us that many physicians are not following recommended guidelines to monitor use, abuse, and diversion. The result is wide variation in the length of narcotics use by injured workers across different states. For example, in Louisiana 1 out of 6 injured workers who were given narcotics initially still received 3 or more narcotics prescriptions 6 months after the injury. In the typical state, the figure was 1 out of 20.”

Dr. Victor will be joining Joseph Paduda, principal of Health Strategy Associates and president of CompPharma, LLC, to discuss factors leading to opioid abuse in workers' compensation, regional variations of narcotics use, physician compliance with treatment guidelines, and strategies employers are using to help addicted employees regain control of their lives and return to work. The session starts at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

Other participants at the National Drug Summit include:

  • Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, United States Surgeon General
  • Hon. Harold “Hal” Rogers, U.S. Representative, Kentucky 5th District
  • R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General
  • Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Joseph T. Rannazzisi, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control, U.S. DEA
  • Dr. Ileana Arias, Principal Deputy Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

“We are pleased to have the Workers Compensation Research Institute at the National Drug Abuse Summit,” said Karen Kelly, CEO of Operation UNITE, host of the Summit. “For decades, WCRI has been providing the public with objective, credible, and high quality research regarding the care that injured workers are given. Since prescription drugs is a large part of the treatment that injured workers receive, it is essential that we involve WCRI in this discussion to fight this terrible epidemic that is destroying our families, schools and communities.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. Earlier this year, CDC Director Thomas Frieden was quoted as saying that fifteen thousand people died last year from prescription drug overdose – about 40 deaths per day – and that he lays most of the blame at the feet of relatively few U.S. doctors who prescribe opioid painkillers too freely – either out of ignorance or greed.

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