This GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk provides basics about opioids, and how to avoid opioid addiction. Click below to download the Toolbox Talk as a two-page handout.

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Opioid Awareness in Construction

In America, we are seeing a tremendous surge in opioid addiction, one that is not limited to any particular demographic groups. The opioid crisis is not limited to illegal drug use: many cases of opioid addiction and overdose are from abusing legal and prescribed medications. While the causes for addiction vary, the result remains the same: addicted workers, and their families and friends, are affected by loss of everyday well-being, relationships, and even life.

How Opioids Work:

Opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain. These drugs connect with receptors to the human nervous system and reduce the feeling of pain from most injuries. They also calm down breathing and relax the body.

The body makes a chemical that normally does this, however the body will not create enough to overdose the system, where the muscles relax to the point that breathing stops.

Opioids are Addictive:

Drug addiction is not an issue of will. Many cases of opioid dependency stem from abuse of medications, such as staying on a medication too long, or taking incorrect dosages.

Avoid Addiction by Avoiding Opioids:

  • Know your medications: Ask your doctor or pharmacist if your meds have opioids.
  • Request non-opioid medications.
  • Use medications as directed. Listen to your doctor, not your friends and colleagues.

Avoid Opioids by Avoiding Injury:

  • Participate in a stretch and flex program to help prevent strains.
  • Get help to pick up heavy loads.
  • Work smarter, not harder: Plan ahead, know what tools and equipment you need to move objects and loads easily.
  • Keep the job site free of clutter to reduce slip and trip injuries.
  • Use the right PPE for the job and replace when necessary.