Painkillers are prescribed to millions of Americans, but a new study done by Travelers may be able to pinpoint who among them could be potential addicts.
Officials say the discussion needs to start with the reasons people take painkillers.
Experts say the majority of addictions start with prescriptions after an accident. It then opens up the door to a dark path that in some cases, leads to addiction.
“It starts with a car accident, a chronic pain,” said Jody Davis, executive director at Coram Deo, a recovery center in New Britain.
She's struggled with addiction in the past, but is now an example that there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Many of the patients she serves are battling with heroin and opioids.
“Addiction knows no lines, especially when we're dealing with ordinary stuff. You don't know from one day to another how your life is going to change,” Davis said.
There may even be a way to identify the next addict.
A CBS report shows Travelers, the Hartford-based insurance company, has something called the Early Severity Predictor.
Using data from 1.5 million injuries, the company is trying to weed out those at the highest risk of addiction and treating them before it happens. The model is based on four areas.
The first is pharmaceutical frequency -- Travelers wants to know what the patient has been prescribed and how much they're taking.
Then, co-morbidity -- Travelers feels other health conditions could be a trigger, and Davis agrees with that, saying “let's say you struggle with an addiction to heroin. Now, you're diabetic and you have to stick a needle in your arm every day.”
Overall health is the last criteria -- Travelers will look at a patient's physical and mental health.
They said disgruntled employees could be a red flag, especially if they were injured on the job and don't look forward to going to back.
“If you haven't been taught stress management and things of that nature, a pill is just as good,” Davis said.
After a potential candidate is identified, Travelers gets to work on finding a healthy solution.
Davis says that personalized treatment works wonders.
“I was really glad to see the Travelers study and see they were actively pursuing risk prevention as opposed to dealing with it on the other side,” Davis said.
The report goes on to say Travelers analyzed 20,000 cases of opioid addiction since 2015.
They identified 9,000 at-risk patients and worked with 2,500 of them.
Since then, 1,400 are no longer dependent and medical expenses have dropped by 50 percent.
A complete unveiling of the program with full results is scheduled for March 1 in Windsor.
Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.