Massachusetts Taking a Stand to Help Laborers Deal with Opioid Addiction
The current opioid crisis in the USA is having a severely detrimental effect on many aspects of community and commercial life. The construction industry has been hardest hit, with massive losses to the pool of available workers due to opioid addiction. Now a few organizations in Massachusetts are taking steps to raise awareness.
The contribution to losses sustained by the manufacturing industry caused by the opioid crisis is one that is largely misunderstood or ignored. Recent figures indicate that in 2017, construction in Massachusetts lost more than $15 billion because of employee problems with opioids. It is clear that significant steps need to be taken if this worrying trend is to be reversed.
Construction Industry Adopting Variety of Measures to Curb Opioid Epidemic
Among the initiatives being adopted by the industry:
- The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) organization in Massachusetts has sponsored a statewide opioid stand-down. This stand-down was designed to bring attention to the effect that opioids are having on the industry. The AGC also published a detailed manual for contractors designed to help them identify and deal with opioids.
- The AGC also hosted a series of short, informative talks about opioid misuse. Among the information that was shared was the unfortunate statistic that around 1-in-4 fatal opioid overdoses among workers in Massachusetts between 2011 and 2015 were in the construction industry.
- In tandem with the Boston Medical Center, the AGC has developed an opioid safety program. This initiative is designed for employers and aims to help them recognize signs of opioid misuse with their workforce. It also shows them what to do if an overdose occurs on-site, and what organizations exist to help opioid-dependent employees.
Additional Initiatives Taken by Other Organizations in Massachusetts
Other initiatives have been undertaken by the New England Carpenters Benefit Funds, which now covers ninety days of opioid-abuse treatment for its members. The Massachusetts Laborer’s Benefits Fund is also working on a new sponsorship initiative that aims to make it easier for workers to find and be enrolled in opioid-dependency treatment programs.
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