The construction industry is disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis, so local unions are becoming an instrumental part in helping members combat addiction problems, representatives from North America’s Building Trades Union said.

More than 115 people in the U.S. die every day after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For workers in the construction industry, the overdose rate is seven times that of the general population, Chris Cain, the director of safety and health for NABTU, said.

“We’re losing people at an alarming rate,” Kyle Zimmer, health and safety director for International Union of Operation Engineers Local 478 in Connecticut, said.

A year ago, NABTU established a task force of its member unions and select employers to address that very issue and to help members successfully recover from addiction, Cain said. Education about prevention and treatment, coupled with peer support programs, put in place by local building trades unions can be a way out of the crisis, Cain said.

Cain and other NABTU representatives spoke to local union leaders during NABTU’s legislative conference in Washington April 17, 2018.

Read the entire article at Bloomberg News by clicking here. As reported by Jaclyn Diaz, Bloomberg News