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.
- Reframing Primary Prevention and Opioid Use Reduction in the Construction Industry — A brief developed by the FrameWorks Institute that distills key concepts and ideas about how to communicate the value of primary prevention for reducing opioid use among construction workers.
- Opioid Deaths in Construction Hazard Alert, also available in Spanish.
- Opioid Deaths in Construction Toolbox Talk, also available in Spanish.
- Opioid Awareness Training Program
- Physicians’ Alert – Pain Management for Construction Workers
- Protect Yourself from an Opioid Overdose Infographic also available in Spanish
- Peer Advocacy for Construction Workers Struggling with Substance Use and Mental Health
- Opioid Hazards & Awareness Resources — video with CPWR Opioid Projects Coordinator Chris Rodman
- Musculoskeletal Disorders and Prescription Opioid Use among U.S. Construction Workers — Key Finding for a paper in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
- Prescription opioid use and associated factors among US construction workers — Key Finding for a paper in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine
- Overdose Fatalities at Worksites and Opioid Use in the Construction Industry — 2019 Quarterly Data Report
- Opioids topic page
- *New* Times are Tough infographic (PDF); Spanish: Estos son tiempos difíciles
- Science Blog: Addressing the Opioid Overdose Epidemic in Construction: Minimize Work Factors that Cause Injury and Pain (9/14/21)
- *New* videos series: Opioids in the Construction Industry.
- *New* Prescription Opioid and Benzodiazepine Medications and Occupational Safety and Health: Information for Employers and Healthcare Providers (2021-116) factsheet
- Key Questions Guiding the Framework
- Fentanyl topic page
- Fentanyls and the safety of first responders: Science and recommendations article
- Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention topic page
- NIOSH Science Blog blog
- A NIOSH Role in Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention blog
- The Opioid Overdose Epidemic and the Workplace blog
- Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder blog
- Using Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose in the Workplace: Information for Employers and Workers factsheet
- Opioid Overdose topic page
- Opioid Basics topic page
- Overdose Prevention topic page
- CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain clinical tools for health care providers
- Nonopioid Treatments for Chronic Pain handout
- Manage Your Pain, Minimize Your Risk poster
- Rx Awareness An awareness campaign with videos, radio spots, social media, signs & billboards, online ads
- Occupational Patterns in Unintentional and Undetermined Drug-Involved and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2007–2012 A Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report
- Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
NABTU Opioid Task Force:
- NABTU Opioid Awareness Training Program (before downloading, be aware that this is a 100 MB PowerPoint file)
- Opioid Awareness Training Program Facilitator Guide
- NABTU Opioid Awareness Training Program Participant Handout
- New Insights into the Opioid Crisis and Work: Important Information for Workers and Employers listen to CPWR’s Executive Director presenting in a recent webinar on the opioid crisis and construction
- ConstructorCast: The Opioid Crisis & Construction listen to CPWR’s Executive Director talk about the opioid crisis and construction in this recent podcast
National Safety Council:
- Prescription Drug Employer Kit – resources for employers
- Substance Use Cost Calculator provides information on the cost to a business of substance use in their workplace
- Order Free Resources to Reduce Opioid Risk – free supplies to safely and securely dispose of prescription drugs and labels to prompt a conversation with your medical provider
- Stop Everyday Killers promotes awareness and features stories from people who lost someone to the opioids epidemic
- Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic: Painkillers Driving Addiction, Overdose provides information on the epidemic
- Unused Medication Disposal Resources provides information on what you can do to fight the epidemic
- Prescription Drug Abuse: For Providers provides information for health care providers
- Prescription Opioids drug facts
- Opioids and Worker Health – listen to CPWR’s Executive Director speak on opioids and worker health in this podcast
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – free national confidential hotline and other resources
- Publications and Resources on Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse – links to publications, best practices, national strategies and initiatives, training and education, and webinars
- Addiction Resource Hub database of addiction resources from community events to treatment
Washington State L&I:
- Prescribing Opioids to Treat Pain in Injured Workers – resources for health care providers
- DOT Drug Testing topic page
- Overview of Drug and Alcohol Rules information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for drivers and employers
Other Reports & News:
- Workers Overdose On The Job, And Employers Struggle To Respond article by Kaiser Health News
- Opioid-related Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts by Industry and Occupation, 2011-2015 report by the Occupational Health Surveillance Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health looking at the industry and occupation of those who died of opioid overdose between 2011-2015
- Study links opioid deaths to workplace injuries article by The Boston Globe
- Construction And Fishing Industries Have Highest Opioid OD Death Rates In Mass. article by wbur
- Ohio construction workers seven times more likely to die of an opioid overdose in 2016 article by Cleveland Metro 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.