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New Brunswick Construction Accident Lawyers | Opioid Use

Opioid Use Among Construction Workers

Last year in the United States, there were more than 64,000 fatal drug overdoses. That is more than double the number of overdoses from a decade ago. Experts say the increase in the prescription of highly-addictive opioid pain medications is primarily to blame for the rise in opioid abuse. The construction industry has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, which is currently second only to the restaurant industry for employee opioid use.

Construction industry news site, Construction Dive, dug deep into the current opioid epidemic among construction workers to find out why they are more impacted by opioid abuse than employees in other lines of work. They discovered interesting clues about the prevalence of opioid use among laborers.

Aging Workforce

As development slowed down in the early 2000s, more skilled laborers left the industry and few workers entered the field. This required more seasoned workers to take on physically demanding job functions usually relegated to younger workers. Older bodies are more vulnerable to pain and injury. Injured laborers who cannot afford to miss work may turn to narcotic painkillers to get through the workday.

Mental Health Issues

Many people have underlying mental health issues that make them more vulnerable to opioid use. The construction industry does not have effective or consistent mental health screenings. Emotionally fragile workers turn to opioids to deal with daily stressors and emotional and physical pain.

Inefficient Drug Testing

Because large-scale construction projects have developers who hire or sub-contract other companies or employees, employee drug screenings can be inconsistent or nonexistent. Every business has their own procedures and policies for drug testing, and employee health and wellness can fall between the cracks.

Safety Issues on the Construction Site

Construction is among one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Heavy equipment and machinery, exposure to harsh elements, and hazardous chemicals make construction work inherently dangerous. Construction workers under the influence of drugs or alcohol have delayed reaction time and mental confusion. They are a danger to those around them.

Industry experts offer the following suggestions for managing opioid use among construction workers:

  • Accommodating workers in pain: Offering desk jobs to employees who need heavy-duty pain medication for their safety.

  • Education: Helping workers recognize the signs of opioid abuse and how to choose safer pain medications.

  • Greater OSHA involvement: For more stringent drug testing and safety training.

  • Promoting treatment: Providing resources for workers in need to break the cycle of opioid abuse and remain productively employed.

New Brunswick Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for the Rights and Wellbeing of Construction Workers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, contact the New Brunswick construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. We will gather all the information you need to successfully prove your case and recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 732-537-8570 or submit an online inquiry today. Our offices are conveniently located in Highland Park, New Jersey, and we serve residents in Middlesex County, including the communities of Highland Park, Somerset, New Brunswick, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia, New Jersey.

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