Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is concerned about the rising number of deaths from prescription opioid overdoses in Louisiana, and the costs associated with prescription pill addiction. Donelon says for the first time since the Vietnam War, the life expectancy has gone down for white males ages 25 to 35, and he says that’s due in part to the opioid epidemic in the US.
“The mortality tables were reflecting the increased deaths caused by drug overdose in the Unites States amongst white males,” Donelon said.
Donelon says one in six injured workers in Louisiana had longer term use of prescription painkillers than workers in the other 24 states in a study by Workers Compensation Research Institute. He says this is a cost factor for employers accessing coverage for the workers in the workers comp market.
“The longer they are on the drugs related to their original injury, the cost goes up for the insurer and therefore for the employer,” Donelon said.
Donelon says in 2014, 750 people died of opioid overdoses in Louisiana. He says a rising cost of insurance for injured workers is the least of the concerns with this issue.
“That’s a minor factor compared to the devastating effect that getting addicted to these drugs has on the individual worker and his family and loved ones,” Donelon said.