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.


New Training Materials for Building Resilience

CPWR’s new resilience training tool includes nine activities that guide discussions with construction workers about substance use, suicide, and mental and physical wellbeing. These field-tested training activities are designed for groups of 8-10 apprentices or journey-level workers and can be completed in 30 minutes to an hour. The workbook includes detailed facilitation instructions and an introductory slide set.




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.