For chronic pain sufferers, narcotic pain medication is often prescribed. Pain
management is a controversial yet growing field in medicine. Prescribing
controlled substances appropriately is often met with challenges: manipulation
of drug abusers and physicians over prescribing narcotics is balanced by a
misunderstanding of the public towards narcotics and the individual suffering in
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts
longer than six months. It can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous,
merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating. The symptoms of chronic pain
- Mild to severe pain that does not go away
- Pain that may be described
as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical
- Feeling of discomfort,
soreness, tightness, or stiffness
What are narcotic pain medications?
The Federal Drug
Enforcement Agency classifies drugs into certain categories or classes, one
being narcotics. Narcotic pain medication (also referred to as opiods) is used
only for pain that is severe and is not helped by other types of painkillers.
When used carefully and under a doctor’s direct instruction, these drugs can be
effective at reducing pain. Narcotics work by binding to receptors in the brain
and blocking the feeling of pain. They work well for short-term pain relief. All
narcotic agents have a dissociative effect that helps patients manage pain. It
does not actually deaden the pain, but works to dissociate patients from the
pain. Commonly used narcotics include:
- Codeine (e.g. Tylenol #3)
- Hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin)
(e.g. Percocet, Oxycontin)
Narcotics are extremely effective for pain relief. However, the word
“narcotic” comes from the Greek word “narkos” meaning sleep; therefore,
narcotics are drugs that can induce sleep or cause drowsiness and lethargy.
Narcotics can also cause constipation and mood changes. In addition, every
opiate-based narcotic pain medication has a potential to cause physical
dependence, abuse or overdose. Physical dependence will develop in many people
simply due to sustained ingestion of opiate pain medication. Dependence is often
accompanied by tolerance, which results in the dosage being increased so the
person continues to experience benefits from the medicine. All long term users
of narcotic pain medication become physically dependent, and if drugs are
suddenly discontinued, their body experience symptoms of withdrawal, including
sweating, aches and nausea. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines
addiction as the abuse of any psychoactive substance with compulsion and loss of
control despite adverse consequences.
Workplace insurers spend $1.4 billion annually on narcotic pain medication.
PMSI, a workers’ compensation service provider, has data to show that 70% of
total pharmacy spending in workers compensation is related to medications used
to treat pain. The Workers Compensation Research Institute indicates that
workers in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York receive up to
125% more narcotics per claim than in other states. Chronic pain has become one
of the nation’s most costly health problems.
Chronic pain sufferers who take narcotic pain medication are often labeled,
and the stigma that applies of being physically dependent on narcotics is
difficult to shed. The medical community recognizes the debilitating and long
term impact of chronic pain sufferers. Standards of care are still being
developed and studies are being conducted to determine the detriment of long
term narcotic pain medicine usage.
If you or a loved one suffers from chronic pain as a result of a work injury,
contact the Philadelphia workers comp lawyers at Pearson Koutcher, LLP without
delay. We can quickly diagnose your situation and pursue the benefits to which
you may be eligible based upon our knowledge of the Pennsylvania Workers’
Compensation Act and our more than three decades of combined experience
representing injured workers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Workers Compensation attorneys at Pearson Koutcher, LLP, are
dedicated to the singular goal of securing maximum compensation and full
benefits entitled to injured employees under the laws of Pennsylvania. Their
years of experience as seasoned, skillful trial lawyers and negotiators, along
with their compassion and diligent understanding of the significant impact a
workplace accident can have on an injured worker’s life, motivate the attorneys
of Pearson Koutcher,
LLP, to approach each new client individually, with meticulous
consideration to their specific individual considerations and circumstances.
Call our office today at 215-627-0700
us to discuss the particular facts of your Pennsylvania Workers’