The report notes that according to the National Safety Council ’s 2017 Survey on Drug Use and Substance Abuse, 15 percent of construction workers struggle with substance abuse—nearly twice the national average.
And across the Midwest 60 to 80 percent of all workers compensation claims have involved opioids.
The industry cost estimate of $5 billion includes lost production, lost family income, and other costs every year for construction workers and their families.
The report highlights a range of policy recommendations — from limiting opioid dosage, updating drug testing policies, and promoting treatment in health insurance plans, to educating employees about responsible pain management, temporarily putting injured workers in low-risk positions, and guaranteeing two weeks of paid sick leave — to help employers and policymakers combat the crisis.
“Untreated substance abuse can cost contractors thousands of dollars each year in health care, absenteeism, and turnover costs, while preventing abuse or getting an employee into recovery can ultimately save thousands of dollars,” Manzo added. “Taking tangible steps to combat this crisis is a moral and economic imperative for both industry leaders and elected officials.”