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Study Finds Construction Workers At High Risk For Opioid Deaths


      A study released by Massachusetts public health officials Wednesday shows the extent that on-the-job injuries play in the opioid crisis.  

   The report found construction workers, farmers, fishermen, and others in occupations where injury is common, and sick days are not, die from opioid overdoses at five-six times the average rate for all workers in the state.

   Jeff Newton, a spokesman with the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, said the study points to the need to improve workplace safety.

   "And we can also see paid time off as not something that could hurt business, but as something that could save lives," he said in an interview.

   The state health department said it would follow up with research to determine to what extent work-related injuries serve as an initiation to opioid pain treatment, and do educational outreach to high-risk worker groups.


Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.