Frequency of construction accidents contributes to opioid crisis

It is no secret that there is a nationwide opioid epidemic, and safety authorities say construction workers in Arizona and other states are most affected. The debilitating injuries that workers suffer from construction accidents, and the frequency of these incidents, contribute to the crisis. The fear of losing their jobs, or unknown periods of disability and the financial consequences play significant roles in the fact that some construction workers would rather use opioids than seek help with dependencies, and physical and mental health.

The National Association of Building Trades says the chances of construction workers overdosing on opioids are seven times higher than for any other industry. Turning a blind eye will not solve the problem, and several organizations are encouraging safer working conditions with fewer injury risks. Some even suggest programs by which workers are rewarded for safe work and injury prevention.

NABTU are discussing the roll-out of education protocols that also cover early detection, peer support and treatment for workers with opioid problems. Furthermore, programs are instituted to raise awareness of the power and impact of opioids among workers and health care providers. Prevention remains the best medicine, and companies that establish safety cultures that avoid the need for opioid prescriptions might bring about the ideal situations.

In the meantime, construction accidents will likely still occur, and workers can protect themselves by asking workers' compensation doctors not to prescribe opioids. They might find comfort in knowing that, even if they are unable to return to work for a while, the workers' compensation benefits will provide wage-replacement packages while they take the time to recover without taking medications that are habit-forming and potentially deadly. An experienced Arizona workers' compensation attorney can assist with the benefits claims process.

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