There are multiple parties responsible for the opioid crisis, and even workers compensation insurers may have played a role in the epidemic, experts speaking at an industry conference said late last year.

Executive Summary

While workers compensation insurers don't have direct responsibility for the opioid crisis, aspects of the comp system may have contributed to the epidemic, according to experts who also say that comp insurers are well positioned to alleviate some of the problems.

After panelists presented facts about the crisis during a session of the Casualty Actuarial Society annual meeting, ticking off potentially culpable parties that included “Big Pharma,” opioid prescribers, pharmacists, politicians and plaintiffs’ attorneys, the moderator took the conversation in a different direction. “Is there something about workers comp that helped stimulate this epidemic?” asked Martin King, director of property and casualty actuarial services for Kaiser Permanente.

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