HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) joined the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) to talk about substance abuse disorder among construction workers.

“While not often discussed, studies have shown that, when compared to other occupations, employees in the construction field have high rates of overdose deaths,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “The risk of on-the-job injury remedied with an opioid prescription increases the chances for those in this field to develop opioid use disorder. We must ensure that employers and employees know about every resource available to them to support individuals suffering from substance use disorder.”

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A study from September of 2021 showed that construction workers who were prescribed opioids for pain had a higher risk for long-term opioid use and developing opioid abuse disorder. An estimated 15% of workers who were prescribed opioids became long-term users.

“The importance of employee safety and well-being cannot be overstated,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We need to ensure that we are prioritizing both our employees’ physical and mental health and creating a safe work environment in an effort to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.”

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Governor Tom Wolf introduced the “Just Five” initiative to raise awareness, reduce stigmas, and educate people about substance abuse disorder. The interactive lessons for “Just Five” include:

  • The Science of Addiction
  • Are You at Risk?
  • The Dangers of Opioids
  • Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
  • How You Can Help
  • The Gift of Recovery

DDAP operates a “Get Help Now” hotline, which you can call at 1-800-662-HELP, that provides treatment and resources to individuals who are experiencing substance abuse disorder. The hotline is confidential, available 24 hours a day year-round, and is staffed by trained professionals. Callers can be connected with funding if they require help paying for treatment.

For more information visit ddap.pa.gov.

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