Update - Sep. 15, 2010: Ontario announces a narcotics strategy, introducing legislation (Bill 101 - passed into law Nov. 29, 2010) to monitor prescription narcotics and other controlled substances to curb the abuse of addictive painkillers. So if the province is addressing the problem, why should injured workers be subject to special and arbitrary rules?
As part of the WCB/WSIB Narcotics Strategy, effective February 16, 2010, following a new injury or recurrence, the Board will restrict the allowance of long-acting narcotic drugs for injured/ill workers when milder drugs could be effective.
Pain control is left to the injured worker to resolve
Under this strategy, if a long-acting narcotic painkiller is prescribed within the first 12 weeks, the Board will deny approval, neither contacting the doctor nor offering an alternative treatment.
Who do you trust for your medical care, the WCB/WSIB or your doctor?
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario states the patient's best interests must always be the doctor's main concern and that " the prescribing physician needs to have a full understanding of the patient's health status" (CPSO Policy 2-05: Prescribing practices)
So why does the WCB/WSIB want to change your doctor's orders?
The Board claims about narcotics use are alarmist and unfounded. Of course the number of prescriptions goes up every year as thousands of additional claims are accepted every year. And of course you will find a higher rate of use by workers with permanent disabilities compared to all injured workers in general as most injuries are temporary and do not need such medication.
Data from their own 2009 locked-in claims study shows a 62.5% decrease in narcotics cost per claim for workers injured 2001 to 2004 (the most recent data provided). The percentage of lost times claims with narcotics prescriptions for this period has increased only about 2% - insigificant, especially given the lower prescription costs per claim.