The Opioid Crisis in Construction

The opioid crisis has hit the construction industry particularly hard. Overdose killed 70,237 people the US in 2017.  That’s more than all US deaths in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, combined.  Opioids are the main culprit, and the construction industry is hit especially hard.  Construction workers in Massachusetts were about 6 times more likely to die of opioid overdose than other workers—and 1 in 4 people who died of opioid-related overdose between 2011 and 2015 were construction workers.  Construction’s high rate of workplace injury is one reason we are especially impacted.

Building Futures’ Response

At Building Futures we are creating educational and structural interventions to promote prevention, rescue, treatment, and recovery in the construction sector.  Starting with our pre-apprenticeship program participants and our graduates we’re introducing a harm-reduction based curriculum. Workshop participants develop problem-solving skills, learn about how to create social and emotional supports in and out of work, and learn the data they need to understand how the opioid crisis affects them and their coworkers.

Our curriculum is just the start of a robust sector-wide response that can promote safety, recovery and life saving strategies.