Mental Health & Addiction

Resources to Prevent Opioid Deaths in Construction

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there were nearly 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2020 – a 36% increase over the previous year.1 Construction workers are at greater risk for overdose, with studies in both Massachusetts and Ohio showing that they were seven times more likely to die of opioid-related overdoses than the average worker.2, 3

The construction industry has one of the highest injury rates in the U.S., and opioids have commonly been prescribed to construction workers to treat the pain caused by these occupational injuries. Since use of opioids has led to addiction and overdose deaths, it is important for workers to understand the risks and alternatives.

The following resources contain information about opioid deaths, prevention, and pain management alternatives. Included is an updated training program, intended to be used by experienced instructors, that is designed to increase awareness of the dangers of opioids and decrease stigma associated with undertaking recovery—knowledge that is all the more important now given the overall rise in opioid use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just announced: CPWR is now seeking proposals for research projects or initiatives focused on upstream prevention of suicides and opioid-related deaths. Proposals are due February 10, 2023. Read the full RFP.




Department of Labor

Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest:


NABTU Opioid Task Force:

National Safety Council:



Facing Addiction:

Washington State L&I:


Other Reports & News:


1Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Up 30% in 2020. CDC/National Center for Health Statistics. 2021.
2Hawkins D, Roelofs C, Laing J, Davis L. Opioid-related overdose deaths by industry and occupation – Massachusetts, 2011-2015. Am J Ind Med. Published online July 26, 2019.
3Dissell, Rachel. 2017. Nov 5. Opioid Overdose Deaths – Which jobs are at risk? The Plain Dealer.