Social Security Disability recipients use high amounts of opioids

A recent study shows that approximately 40 percent of individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country are taking opioid pain medication. Further, 20 percent of those individuals are taking the pain relievers for long periods of time, which could cause them to become addicted to the medication. The fact that such a high percentage of Social Security Disability recipients are at risk of such an addiction has the researchers who conducted the study concerned.

While conducting the study, researchers at Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice looked at trends in prescription opioid use among disabled Medicare recipients. The study focused on data from 2007 to 2011 that pertained to individuals who were under the age of 65. Results indicated that opioid use increased from 2007 to 2010.

It was reported that 94 percent of the SSDI recipients engaged in chronic, long-term opioid use were people who suffered from musculoskeletal diseases. Further, 38 percent of these individuals were also diagnosed with depression. The researchers concluded that the benefits of prescribing chronic use of opioids was uncertain, but they conceded that, in some circumstances, such prescriptions could be beneficial for certain patients.

Social Security Disability benefits are an excellent way for disabled workers in Pennsylvania to get financial assistance to make ends meet and get the medication they need. Those who are having trouble qualifying for this government financial assistance might be able to increase their chances of success with the help of a professional who is familiar with effective application strategies. Finally, it is important to remember that painkillers can sometimes do more harm than good, so Social Security Disability recipients will want to remember to monitor how much pain medication they are taking in order to avoid unwanted complications further down the road.

Source: Science World Report, "Opioid Use High Among Social Security Disability Recipients", Kathleen Lees, Aug. 14, 2014

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