Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda


WCRI – Opioids part one, the overview

Dr Karen Mack of CDC led off this morning’s discussion of opioids with a review of the opioid crisis and provided a lot of data on death rates, usage trends, and mortality trends. Pretty scary stuff.

The most compelling slide shows a strong correlation between opioid sales and overdose death trend rates  which, if not parallel, are certainly quite similar.  Encoouragingly, the rate of treatment has actually accelerated over the last few years at a rate that is much higher than opioid usage trends.

Here are a couple takeaways.

First, I was surprised that there were multiple “ooohs’ from the audience when Dr Mack presented info that I would have thought we all knew – e.g. currently there are enough opioids sold in the US to keep every one of us doped up for a month. Ok, I know I’ve been up to my eyeballs in this issue for several years, and others haven’t spent the time on this that we research nerds do.

But.  Come on folks!  This should NOT be a surprise.  The issue has been front-page news in most newspapers, featured on many news broadcasts, discussed by politicians, media, celebrities, not to mention the issue is so pervasive it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know someone else who’s been directly harmed by opioids.

This is the single biggest issue in workers comp. Kudos to WCRi for dedicating most of day two to the issue.  

Now let’s stop talking about the problem and get moving on solutions.

2 thoughts on “WCRI – Opioids part one, the overview”

  1. I heard that Washington state is considering lowering their MED trigger point from 120 to 90, after seeing the CT protocol was set at 90/day

  2. Anyone smart enough to read your daily blogs, Joe, would not have been surprised by that statement. More people need to get on board! I do appreciate being a subscriber. Keep up the great work.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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