Ontario construction workers accounted for 1 in 13 opioid deaths in recent years, report finds

From The Globe and Mail article

Construction workers have been disproportionately affected by the worsening opioid crisis, accounting for about one in 13 opioid-related deaths in Ontario between 2017 and 2020, according to a new report published Thursday.

The report, led by researchers from the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN), found 428 Ontarians who were working or previously employed in the construction industry died of opioid toxicity during the 30-month period they investigated. That amounted to 7.9 per cent of the total 5,386 opioid-related deaths within that time span, even though those working in the construction industry represent 3.6 per cent of the province’s overall population.

Nearly 80 per cent of these deaths occurred at the individual’s home, the researchers found. Very few occurred on a construction site or at a hotel or motel used for work purposes.

“That was really the first thing that stood out to us is that these are overdoses happening in people’s homes and they’re happening when there aren’t people around to intervene,” said lead author Dr. Tara Gomes, who is a principal investigator of the ODPRN, a provincial network of researchers.

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