Opioid addiction is our nation’s leading public health crisis, and it affects people across all socioeconomic classes, races, genders and jobs. The home building industry is no exception.
People who work in construction are significantly more likely to become addicted to opioids, like prescription painkillers, than workers in the general population. They are also six times more likely to die as a result of overdose. The impact on a business can be significant and includes loss of productivity, healthcare expenses, absenteeism, and turnover. Not to mention the devastating personal impact.
• There are close to 200 fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses in the U. S. every day. That’s eight overdoses per hour, including at least two from workers in the home building industry.
• More than 700,000 people died as a result of a drug overdose between 1999 and 2017.
• Around 68% of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved opioids.
• On average, 130 Americans die every day as a result of an opioid overdose.
In Wisconsin, much work has been done to try to combat the opioid epidemic, but more needs to be done and it all starts with prevention.
In 2013, Representative John Nygren (R. Marinette) introduced seven bills that laid the foundation for his Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda. Since then, 23 more pieces of legislation have been passed unanimously and signed into law. Many of these bills have included measures to target the root of Wisconsin’s epidemic: prescription drug abuse and addiction. In the majority of cases, heroin addiction begins with an addiction to prescription medications, whether these medications are obtained legally or not.
Combatting the opioid epidemic has been a joint effort across several Wisconsin state agencies. The Department of Justice’s Dose of Reality program collects properly disposed of prescription painkillers at hundreds of locations around the state. The Department of Health Services is working on several aspects of counseling and treatment thanks to recommendations by former Governor Walker’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. Additionally, the Department of Safety and Professional Services houses the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which requires all medical prescribers and pharmacies to enter each and every controlled substance prescription and dispense-made to help track and combat doctor shopping and pharmacy hopping.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, or if you would like more information on the topic, please check out the helpful links. Together, we’re making opioids our business.