In America’s heartland and one of the states hit hardest by the current opioid epidemic, Ohio’s workers’ compensation system will soon drop Oxycodone as a covered prescription.

Effective June 1, 2019, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will no longer pay for the most commonly abused opioid painkiller, Oxycodone. This change will affect those covered by the BWC, which is one of the few state monopolistic workers’ compensation systems and the largest state-run insurance system in the U.S.

Instead, Oxycodone will be replaced with what the BWC Chief Medical Officer, Terry Welsh, calls “an equally effective but harder-to-abuse drug” named Xtampza ER. The new drug, Xtampza, is engineered to resist manipulation common in abused drugs, including being able to be crushed, snorted or injected.

This development reflects a positive step for Ohio injured workers in the national fight against opioid addiction. However, there are and continue to be employment issues related to employee use of illegal and prescription drugs, which require the assistance of legal counsel.