In an effort to attack the opioid epidemic head on, the DOL is taking aim at the amount of opioid pain meds that are prescribed to federal employees. Recently, the OWCP began developing procedures that will allow for the monitoring of prescription pain medication to injured federal employees under the FECA with a plan toward reducing the risk of addiction.

There is no indication that this will lead to a ban on opioid painkillers, however. It is widely recognized that prescription painkillers can be a great asset in managing pain, but long term use can lead to abuse and that is what the DOL is trying to avoid, or at least minimize.

Reports show that the new parameters will be that physicians can prescribe an opioid painkiller to an injured federal employee, but that prescription will be limited to 60 days with a minimum of 30 days as the preferred drug for managing the pain. If a patient required a prescription for over 60 days, there will need to be a letter stating the medical necessity of such a prescription. Finally, DOL doctors will not be allowed to prescribe more than 2 opioid painkillers at the same time.

These new guidelines should go a long way in protecting injured federal employees from the risk of addictions that could lead to a permanent inability to return to the workforce while helping them receive the necessary medications that they may need to find the relief that they seek.