Last year, the U.S. government declared the opioid epidemic to be a national public health crisis, but it appears the construction industry does not seem willing to act regarding its role in the problem.
The trillion-dollar construction industry in America has been pummeled by the opioid epidemic, which is estimated to take almost 100 lives in America each day. But the industry has mostly been silent. Experts say the construction companies are more worried about perception than the number of their workers who are hooked on powerful painkillers.
Journalists for the publication Bisnow recently tried to talk to more than a dozen construction companies and workers at more than two dozen construction sites across the country. Only two construction company executives were willing to talk to the journalists on the record. Most of them said they do not want to talk on the record not because they deny the opioid problem among their workers; rather, they fear insurance hikes and do not want to give the impression that they are operating an illegal construction site.
One of the companies that would speak on the record was Boston-based Suffolk, which is one of the nation’s biggest construction corporations, with revenues at $3.3 billion. The headquarters for the construction giant is in Boston in an area known as the ‘Methadone Mile.’ This area is known for its many methadone clinics where addicts seek treatment for opioid addiction. Many of them are construction workers. There are so many addicted construction workers that some companies have difficulty finding qualified labor that doesn’t have a drug problem.
Drug Problems Plague Construction Workers
It is estimated that 15% of construction workers have tried illegal drugs, according to a report by CNA, a commercial insurance underwriter. This is only trailing the food service industry. Construction workers operate in a tough, physical environment, and they suffer wear and tear that has led doctors to prescribe opioids, so they could go back to work. While opioids allow the workers to function on the job, they can lead to a powerful addiction that has professional, personal and financial consequences.
One construction company in Illinois with 150 workers is facing $58,000 in lost time, turnover and healthcare costs due to opioid abuse. Experts say that construction companies need to do more to treat workers with opioid addiction. Also, companies need to screen workers more effectively to check for addiction. Further, these companies need to monitor how long a worker has been on an opioid for an injury. After six months, the employer should assess whether he should be on the drug any more.
It is clear the construction industry needs to do more to recognize the problem in its midst and to ensure employees receive the treatment they need.
Talk to Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer Now
The construction industry is a tough business, and many construction workers suffer various injuries over the years. Sometimes they need to take painkillers, so they can get through the day. But sometimes taking painkillers regularly can lead to opioid addiction. If you or a loved one has been injured due to opioid addiction related to their construction job, talk to Guajardo & Marks today. Our Dallas personal injury attorneys may be able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact us now for a complimentary consultation.