The effect of opioid use on workers' compensation claim cost in the State of Michigan

J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Aug;54(8):948-53. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318252249b.


Objective: To investigate the association between opioid utilization and catastrophic claim (≥$100,000) cost.

Method: A total of 12,226 workers' compensation indemnity claims that were opened and closed from January 1, 2006 to February 28, 2010 in the State of Michigan were selected for multivariate logistic regression analyses.

Result: Controlling for sex, age, claim duration, number of distinct International Classification of Diseases-Ninth Revision codes per claim, and legal involvement, the presence of short-acting opioids on a claim were 1.76 (95% confidence interval: 1.23 to 2.51) and long-acting opioids 3.94 (95% confidence interval: 2.35 to 6.89) more likely to have a final cost $100,000 or more than a claim without any prescription.

Conclusion: The use of opioid medications, particularly long-acting opioid medications, is an independent risk factor for the development of catastrophic claims.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Workers' Compensation / economics*
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data*


  • Analgesics, Opioid