Heightened Risk of Overdose for Construction Workers

A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer written by Aubrey Whelan describes challenges specific to construction workers when it comes to opioid addiction and overdose. The article focuses on a union head’s struggle after the loss of eight members to overdose in the last 18 months.

The Problem

Workers of physically demanding jobs are often at risk for serious physical injury. This can result in a need for addictive pain medication. The CDC confirms that of all the trades in America, construction workers are most likely to die or overdose from drugs such as heroin.

Ken Serviss leads the Allied Trades Assistance Program (ATAP) to provide substance-abuse treatment for members of Philadelphia’s building trade unions and their families. He explains the risk construction workers take as a daily part of their jobs and how injuries can lead to medication, and medication can lead to addiction resulting in stronger street drugs. He explains that “also have the environmental problems—a lot of socialization [in the industry] is alcohol and drug use.”



Shaken from so many deaths and armed with knowledge of the problem, the construction is working to build a solution. Many workers involved in the building trades are being trained to administer naloxone. The ATAP can help people with alcohol and drug addiction. They are also working to fight the stigma and provide options for workers to socialize aside from going to the bar after work.


If you are in the trades, there are affordable drug rehab options available. By getting sober, you will not just be making your life better, your recovery will also be making the job site safer for your fellow workers who rely on you. Call us today at (844) 299-0618 for more information about how to get started.

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