In February 2021, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) published its research on opioid use in the workers’ compensation system. https://www.nasi.org/research/2021/understanding-opioids-context-workers-compensation. Contrasting a 4% the 2018 reduction in opioid-related overdoses, which corresponds to an increase in life expectancy for the first time in 6 years, Jay Patel of NASI asks about the uptick in deaths from this cause in workers’ comp claims. The relationship between work injuries, workers’ comp, and the use of opioids is not yet understood fully, according to Mr. Patel, who is NASI’s Research Assistant for Income Security Policy.
Although opioids have become less frequent in North Carolina workers’ comp cases over the past few years, this has coincided with a move allowing alternative treatment modalities to help with pain. Still, for some injured workers, opioids provide the only relief. NASI’s research helps put North Carolina practice into a national perspective to help everyone in our workers’ comp system.
According to its website, NASI “is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance.” Its invitation-only membership includes leaders from all public and private industries that interact with social benefit programs, like workers’ comp and Social Security disability.
Vernon Sumwalt has been a NASI member since 2012.