New tactic introduced to battle opioid crisis but comes with complications
The opioid crisis that exploded at the end of 2015 is making headlines again as we close out the first month of 2016. During Charlie Baker’s State of the State address on Thursday, January 21st, he noted that the opioid crises was “terrifying” and that four people die every day in Massachusetts due to opioid overdoses. Many of these opioid addictions are linked to the overprescribing of the drug and lackadaisical manner of follow-up to prescription taking. Governor Baker pushed for a 72 hour prescription cap that would allow doctors to closely monitor the ingestion of the drug. Similarly, a new tactic for battling the epidemic has been made public; an implant used to fight the addiction of opioids.
The implant will be surgically inserted under the skin of the arm and will evenly distribute a dose of buprenorphine to the patient. Buprenorphine is a controlled substance used to diminish the opioid additional and is tailored to help the addition decrease after six months. One of the problems with this is that the dosage is universal for everyone in the implant so if someone is a lighter user, it’s still going to give them the same amount of buprenorphine as someone who is a serious user. Heroin, an opioid is the prime example of this, where someone could be addicted to a pain medication, they will be getting the same dosage as a heroin addict. Another potential risk is the actual insertion of the device. Complications that may arise are not currently covered or really known. There are many side effects that could be allocated to this device; protruding the skin, accidental overdose, nerve damage; and none are currently covered.
Another controversial element to the new implant is the workers’ compensation prices that are continuing to rise due to opioid usage. Due to the length at which the product can be used, the long-term cost for workers’ comp payments could be quite expensive. It is still crucial for business owners to know their insurance coverages and to review and to reassess their needs due to the new device and the elements it offers. Contact a member of Gallagher to review your coverage, and ensure you are properly covered should a situation arise at your company.
About the Author
Ann Mizner McKay is an Area Senior Vice President at Gallagher WGA and leader of the claims team. Ms. McKay has extensive experience and knowledge in various types of risks including technology, healthcare, business service, environmental, energy, life sciences, financial institutions, and other business risks.