Oct 2018

The Opioid Crisis And Massachusetts Construction Workers

Rhode Island workers' compensation attorneyWhen you think of opioids, you think of pain. That’s been a major factor in the country’s opioid crisis. Someone sustains an injury on the job. To ease their pain, a doctor prescribes opioids. Before they know it, the patient is addicted to painkillers. In the most tragic cases, they die from overdoses. 

In Massachusetts, the opioid crisis has been particularly cruel to construction and extraction workers (a category that includes earth drillers, blasters and explosive workers, derrick operators, and mining machine operators). A recent report from the state’s Department of Public Health found those workers are six times more likely to suffer from opioid-related overdose deaths than workers in other occupations.  

How opioids affect workers

The primary reason is obvious. Because of the very nature of their work, construction and extraction workers are more likely to suffer major on-the-job injuries. As such, they are more likely to be prescribed opioids to help them recover. 

“Work-related injuries often serve as the initiation for opioid pain medication, which can subsequently lead to opioid misuse,” Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a press release. “Ensuring that jobs are safe, that the risk of injury is low, and that workers have the time for rehabilitation and are not self-medicating to keep working are all key to decreasing opioid overdose deaths among workers.” 

In their report, researchers found construction and extraction workers had a fatality rate of 150.6 deaths per 100,000 workers while the rate for all other occupations was 25.1. Construction and extraction workers accounted for more than 24 percent of all opioid-related deaths among the working population. 

Hidden dangers facing workers

Unfortunately, many Massachusetts companies are blind to the dangers of pressuring injured workers to return to work. Similarly, many doctors are quick to prescribe opioids for workers who are in pain without considering the consequences. In the end, it is the workers – and very often their loved ones – who pay the price of addiction. The worker is likely to lose his or her job. Treatment is expensive and options are often limited.  

Take control of the situation, your life and your future. Contact the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl. They have decades of experience handling cases just like yours, whether you are in Providence, Fall River or Foxborough.  

They will serve as your advocate, fighting aggressively for your rights while treating you with compassion. They offer free case consultations while working on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless they win your case.

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