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By Vicky Waldron, Executive Director, Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan (CIRP)

Opioid overdoses and deaths are a public health crisis affecting many working Canadians.

Use of alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and other substances also causes harm that affect employees, their families, and workplaces.

The impact of the opioid epidemic on construction workers, in particular the disproportionate deaths and harms caused by opioids have been widely documented. The question is why? One reason might be the “work hard, play hard” culture that exists. There is no doubt this industry is the backbone to B.C.’s economy. However, a “work hard, play hard” culture may also be reinforcing heavy alcohol and sometimes other substance use. It is common for construction workers to experience work-related injuries, stress, and pain, which may contribute to their choice to use these substances.

But help is available in the form of a toolkit of resources. The overall goal of this resource toolkit is to help create workplaces where employers can support workers on issues related to substance use, health, and safety. This toolkit is for supervisors, managers, and human resources professionals, as well as unions, associations, and related organizations. It also contains ready-to-use resources for employees.

To access the toolkit, visit.