• Arizona Contractor & Community

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH: Opioids Dependency

The Fourth of a Four-Part Series


Construction is one of the industries with the highest occupational hazards happening every year. The injury rate for construction workers is 77 times higher compared to the national level. Due to high work injuries, construction is the industry with the highest use of prescribed opioids, says Spencer-Thomas.


Besides, years of hard physical labor manifests with chronic pain. As a result, a large number of construction workers take opiates as painkillers for their work-related injuries. A study from Midwest Economic Policy Institute found that a high injury rate places them at risk of forming opioid dependency, quickly leading to an overdose. The same research found that 15% of construction workers battle opioid abuse.


Opioid abuse escalates quickly, leading to overdose deaths. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health report showed that 26 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths came from construction and extraction. It translates to about 106 deaths per 100,000 workers which is six times higher than the average rate of Massachusetts populations.


The Economic Burden Of Suicide In Construction Industry


Apart from the moral, emotional, and psychological burden suicides leave to family members and friends, it also takes a significant toll on the economy.

On the economic aspect, suicide adds to a high cost charged at employers, governments, and workers themselves. The employers with a worker that dies by suicide bear a financial debt, covering production disturbance costs, human capital costs, medical costs, administrative costs, and other costs.


The Centre for Mental Health states we lose 91 million days each year to mental health issues. The burden of the costs goes mainly to the employer. While mental health problems are a burden for the economy, suicide puts the problem to another level.

World Health Organization shows the severity of the problem, adding that for every team member dying from suicide, 10-20 others are attempting. For employers, it means they have to pay for the recovery costs of employees that attempt suicide.