Workers Comp Audit Stress Reducer
Use It For Your Next Premium Audit

Opioids Did Not Work – Shocker?


New Study Explains Why Opioids Did Not Work As Intended

What do you mean opioids did not work?  Yes, according to a new six-year study.  I was reading my Opera newsfeed last night and came across a shocking headline.

Yes, articles have appeared on the CutCompCosts website that identified opioids as another workers comp buzzword.

On a quick side note, if you want to have a free privacy internet browser with a free VPN – check out Opera.  It was recommended to me by multiple Gen Zers.  The link is here. 

I digress – often, a study glues together many other studies to derive some type of conclusion.  That was not the case here.  The study was a hands-on study. The sponsors/funding of the study were medical organizations and an Australian governmental safety organization.

pic opioids did not work pill bottle
Wikimedia Commons – Mpelletier1

Study Design

According to the article published in the Lancet

Because of scarce research, the scientists studied the effectiveness and safety of using opioids to treat a small cohort of 310 people. The patients had sought help for neck or lower back pain from primary care clinics or hospitals in Sydney between February 2016 and March 2022. At the beginning of the study, participants were about age 44 on average and had experienced at least moderately painful neck or lower back pain or both for 12 weeks or less.


Following 310 people for six years seemed to be a thorough study.   I do recommend reading the study abstract in the prior link.  It is your 4th of July workers comp reading assignment.

Study Conclusion = Opioids Did Not Work

The controversial conclusion –

Opioids should not be recommended for acute non-specific low back pain or neck pain given that we found no significant difference in pain severity compared with a placebo. This finding calls for a change in the frequent use of opioids for these conditions.

My Conclusion

Opioids remain a hot topic.  Working in the workers’ comp world for over 30 years has shown me that a certain percentage of injured workers have abused opioids in claims.  The worst that I have seen is noticing a truck driver had in his possession at one time = 500 Vicodin.

It is becoming more apparent that other medical treatment strategies to return an injured worker to gainful employment other than opioids for pain would be a good idea.

If opioids did not work in this hands-on study, can one turn to NSAIDs?  Check out this article or Google Celecoxib.



James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


Get the latest workers' comp news FREE!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.