BOSTON – Over 600 construction workers across Rhode Island and Boston will pause work on Friday morning to address the alarming rates of substance use disorders and overdose fatalities in the construction industry. The stand-down event in Boston, held at 113 Autumn Avenue, and a simultaneous event in Rhode Island (organized by the New England Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund) are scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.
These stand downs, hosted by the Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA) Northeast, will feature a moment of silence lasting 60 seconds to honor the 229 out of every 100,000 construction workers who lose their lives to substance use disorders annually.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the construction sector has the highest suicide rate of any industry in the US, with approximately 53 suicides per 100,000 laborers. This rate is about four times the national average and five times higher than all other construction-related fatalities combined.
A 2015 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that construction workers account for 25% of all fatal overdoses among American employees and are 6-7 times more likely to die from a heroin overdose than those in other industries. Moreover, a 2020 SAMHSA study found that 83% of construction workers have experienced at least one mental health issue during their career.
The stand-down events signal the end of the 3rd Annual Building Trades Recovery Week, organized by BTEA Northeast.
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