BOSTON (NWN) — Fatal opioid overdoses among Massachusetts workers have nearly doubled in recent years, with the construction, farming and fishing industries among the hardest-hit sectors, according to an updated study by the state Department of Public Health.
new state report, which is based on an earlier study covering 2011–2015, the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths among workers in all industries increased from 25 deaths per 100,000 workers from 2011–2015 to 46 in 2016–2017 Has been.
According to the report, within the manufacturing industry, the rate of fatal opioid overdose increased from 125 per 100,000 workers in 2011-2015 to 229 from 2016-2017. Among workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting businesses, the death rate increased from about 107 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2011–2015 to 221 in 2016–2017.
The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, an activist advocacy group, said the updated data shows policymakers need to invest in workplace-related substance abuse prevention and recovery strategies.
The organization said a nationwide agreement with the Sackler family and its opioid maker Purdue Pharma should see some of the state’s estimated $90 million share go to such programs.
“It is clear that work can be both a path to opioid use and addiction as well as a path to recovery,” the coalition’s executive director Jodi Sugarman-Brozan said in a statement. “We must do everything possible to prevent the type of injury, stress, and pain that leads to the use of opioids for workers and to help them get the recovery services they need when they happen.”