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New Hampshire program will help workers on opioids

A storage unit may fall onto people nearby it on a warehouse floor. A conveyor belt may jam in a loading dock. There are many ways that a worker may be hurt or disabled on the job, but they all have one thing in common. They all cause pain, and they all lead victims to seriously consider pain relief.

There is concern in New Hampshire that many people hurt on worksites or in offices are getting addicted to pain killers during their recovery. The state's Department of Labor will launch a mediation program to move injured workers off any dependency on specific types of pain killers, including oxycontin and other opioid pharmaceuticals.

"Whenever we get information about workers comp claims, there's a lot of folks who are getting prescribed very high levels of opioids," said a workers' compensation official in Concord. Alternatives include nonopioid pain relievers and accelerated recovery times including therapy and rehabilitation.

New Hampshire's program is based on a system in neighboring Massachusetts, where a pilot program works with injured workers who have settled workers' compensation claims to find alternatives after policies have stopped paying for opioid treatments. This system also reduces the risk of another workplace accident involving a worker who is using opioid medication or related drugs irresponsibly.

Workers struggling with workers' compensation issues and other problems related to workplace injuries may seek legal representation to help them deal with proceedings in civil court, administrative court or independent claims. An attorney can help injured workers claim the money they need to properly recover from insurers and government agencies.

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