July 21-27th is Construction Opioid Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. This is an event to raise awareness and understand the dangers of prescription drug use in the construction industry.

GBCA wants to spread awareness and inform about the dangers of opioid addiction in the construction industry.

In 2016, more than 2,200 Pennsylvanians died of opioid overdoses, the fourth highest rate in the United States according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Construction workers are involved in very physically demanding jobs and because of that many turn to medication for relief. Twenty percent of all prescribed medications to the construction industry contain an opioid in it and we feel the industry needs to be better educated on this addictive medication.

Here are some ways to participate in Construction Opioid Awareness Week:

1. Hold a Safety Toolbox Talk on Opioids, some topics include:

Common Risks at Work Due to Opioid Painkiller Use
Discussing Prescription Opioids with your Doctor
Understanding Opioid Pain Medications: Know the Risks
Your Employee Assistance Program – A Valuable Company Benefit & Resource

2. Make your company location a Drug Take Back location during Construction Opioid Awareness Week.

3. Distribute “Opioids – Warn Me” stickers to your employees and encourage them to place the stickers on their insurance cards. With these stickers, healthcare professionals are supposed to alert patients of when a prescription contains an opioid and suggest an alternative.

For more information and ideas, download the Pennsylvania Construction Employers Opioid Awareness Toolkit (courtesy of Keystone Contractors Association):