By now, everyone knows someone effected by the opioid epidemic. However, as construction employers, we must all pause and consider this issue as an industry.
In August, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) released a report examining opioid related deaths by industry from 2011 to 2015. The historical data available paints a dire portrait of the construction occupation in the face of the drug crisis which is surely to continue increasing as more recent data is also examined.
Across the state in this 4 year period, the DPH was able to identify 4,302 opioid related deaths for employed residents. Of these, 1,155 or 26.8% were construction workers!
These numbers are staggering to consider with only agricultural worker and fishermen even coming close to the rate at which construction workers are dying.
Now, obviously, these rates are probably less in the union building trades, but nevertheless a breakdown of deaths by the trade reveals that the worst 3 trades for opioid related deaths are represented by the BTEA, Laborers (34%), Carpenters (18%) and Painters (8%).
Currently, the BTEA is considering ways in which to raise awareness of these issues and inform our employers and their employees of the dangers of opioids and how to get help.
Below is a copy of the report. Please read it and consider what you can do to help!MA Report on Opioid Deaths