St. Pierre Law

Overdoses lead to more workplace fatalities

The United States is in the grips of an opioid epidemic. Drugs take a toll on nearly every facet of society. In 2017, 70,237 people died from drug overdoses. That number has more than quadrupled since 1999. The New England and Middle Atlantic states are some of the hardest hit, and account for many of the opioid fatalities.

The opioid epidemic has affected the workforce as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace overdose deaths increased at least 25 percent from 2013 to 2017. There were 272 overdose deaths at work in 2017 alone.

Growing safety concern

Many of the fatal overdoes happen in dangerous workplaces, such as construction sites, warehouses, garages and factories. All these workplaces involve the three thing the deadliest jobs have in common: working from heights, working with dangerous machinery and driving for long periods.

Working while under the influence of opioids is not only a danger to the drug user. It also presents a danger to coworkers who need to rely on peers to stay safe.

Workers’ compensation

Many people who become addicted to opioids first start taking opioids after a work-related injury. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses workers’ compensation data as an important metric in gauging the opioid epidemic. Studies indicate a correlation between longer opioid prescriptions after an injury and a slower return to the job after workplace injuries.

The mining and construction industries have the most workers’ compensation claims prescribed opioids. They are followed by the agriculture, forestry, fishing and public safety industries. Older workers and workers in rural counties were most likely to receive opioid prescriptions.

Promoting safety

Since many of the injuries that begin opioid addictions are work-related, the most important thing workplaces can do to avoid the cost of the epidemic is to promote a culture of safety. This includes conforming to state, federal, union and industry guidelines, obeying labor laws to prevent overworking and taking an active role in employee safety.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Ron St. Pierre Stock Image

Let Us Help You

There's no better time than now to get the legal help you need for your injury. Talk with a lawyer from our firm by calling 978-225-0496 or  email us to schedule a consultation. If your injuries prevent you from coming to us, we will meet you in your hospital room, home or other convenient location.

Email Us For A Response

Contact An Experienced Attorney Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Firm Location:
1 Merrimac Street
Suite 20
Newburyport, MA 01950

Phone: 978-225-0496
Fax: 978-499-7941
Newburyport Law Office Map

Firm Numbers: