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How Construction Leaders Can Address Substance Misuse in the Workplace

Construction workers are among the hardest hit population when it comes to opioid overdose deaths. Between 2011 and 2017, one in four (25.3%) construction workers with work-related injuries used prescribed opioid pain relievers, compared to less than one in 10 (8.9%) of their counterparts who were not injured. And recent state-level studies show that construction workers are six to seven times more likely to die of an overdose than workers in other professions.

What’s more, the average annual health care costs for an employee with an untreated Substance Use Disorder (SUD) range from $8,255 to $14,000, nearly double the costs of an average employee with no SUD, according to the National Safety Council.

The good news is that there are practical steps construction leaders can take to mitigate this problem in the workplace. An integrated approach should include comprehensive safety policies and protocols, substance misuse and addiction education, and support for employees who need help.