It took six years of going from doctor to doctor to doctor for Penney Cowan to finally receive a diagnosis for her chronic pain: fibromyalgia. Doctors had told her she'd just have to learn to live with the pain — a condition that some days made it hard to lift a cup of coffee. So when she decided to join the pain program at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic, she didn't have high hopes. She says she expected the effort to fail.
Researchers studying workers’ compensation claims have found that almost one in 12 injured workers who begin using opioids were still using the prescription drugs three to six months later. It's a trend that, not surprisingly, can lead to addiction, increased disability and more work loss – but few doctors are acting to prevent it.