New Study Finds Disturbing, Dramatic Increase in Worker Opioid Overdose Deaths

Boston, MA ( - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) released an update to a report on opioid-related overdose deaths (OROD) by industry and occupation covering the years 2011-2015 to include new data gathered from 2016-2017. The report, titled Opioid-related Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts by Industry and Occupation, 2016-2017, shows that the average annual rate of OROD among workers nearly doubled over the period studied and is being used by labor advocates to encourage public health policy leaders to direct incoming funds from opioid-related legal settlements to workplace-related prevention and recovery strategies. 
The overall statewide rate of ORODs for all workers increased from 25.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in the period 2011 to 2015 to 46.1 in 2016-2017. However, two industries that suffer from the highest rates of workplace injury and pain were among the worst hit.  The Construction industry and the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting industry,  saw tragic increases in the number of workers lost to ORODs. The Construction industry saw a high rate of ORODs (228.9 deaths per 100,000 workers) during 2016-2017, an 83% increase over the 2011-2015 rate (124.9 in 2011-2015). The Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting industry also showed a high rate of ORODs, more than doubling from 107.5 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2011-2015 vs. 220.8 in 2016-2017).  
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