Back to Blog

Construction Workers Disproportionately Impacted by Opioid-related Deaths

The risks of opioid-related harms and deaths in the construction industry have been raised in a number of media reports over the past year.

In an article published last week by CBC News, construction workers in Alberta said that “isolation, lifestyle and physicality of job pushes some to drug use.” Three out of four people who die of overdoses in Alberta are men, and 30 to 50% of those employed at the time of their death, were employed in trades.

In July 2022, Public Health Ontario and Health Canada released several reports and tweets about this issue and the growing concern saying nearly one in 13 opioid-related deaths in Ontario occurred among construction workers.

The construction industry is a crucial part of our economy, and its workers play a very important role in building and maintaining our infrastructure. The growing opioid-related harms in recent years are a problem that demands further attention.

Why are opioid-related harms more prevalent among construction workers?

Workers describe the physical pain of their jobs as a reason for their drug use. According to a report by Public Health Ontario, 78% had an injury or pain diagnosis prior to death (mainly fractures, dislocations, strains or sprains, as well as low back pain).

Opioids are a class of drugs that are used to relieve pain and include prescription painkillers like OxyContin, as well as street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. These drugs have become a major public health concern due to their high potential for abuse and dependence.

Opioid use and abuse in the construction industry have serious consequences for workers and their families. Opioids can impair a person’s ability to perform their job safely. Workers who are dependent on opioids are also more likely to miss work and have decreased productivity, which can lead to job loss and financial instability.

In addition to the personal and economic harm caused by opioid use and abuse, the construction industry is also facing increased costs due to the opioid epidemic. The cost of treating opioid addiction and overdose, as well as the cost of replacing workers who are unable to perform their jobs, is a growing burden on the industry.

To address this problem, it is important that the construction industry takes steps to prevent opioid use and abuse. This can include offering support and access to resources for workers who are struggling with substance use disorders and promoting alternative forms of pain management.

Medical cannabis is a promising alternative to opioids for the treatment of chronic pain. Compared to opioids, cannabis has a better safety profile with no overdose-related deaths reported. Furthermore, the endocannabinoid system and opioid system in our bodies work together with the major pain pathways to relieve pain without increasing the risk of overdosing and dying.

We also know that chronic pain is rarely treated alone; it is typically accompanied by emotional distress and sleep problems. Medical cannabis is a promising alternative because it is likely to avoid the undesirable side effects associated with prescription pharmaceuticals to treat pain, sleep, and anxiety all at once.

In conclusion, the opioid epidemic is a serious problem in the construction industry, and its impacts are felt by workers, their families, and the industry as a whole. To prevent further harm, it is important that everyone works together to promote safe and healthy work environments and support those who are struggling with addiction. By addressing this problem, we can help protect the health and well-being of construction workers and ensure that this important industry remains strong and productive.

Previous Article
Starseed Medicinal Celebrates International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8th, and serves as a reminder of the progress made towards gender equality and the work that still needs to be done. One important aspect of this is women’s health, which is a topic that continues to be overlooked and underrepresented. Women’s health refers to the physical, mental, and social well-being of women throughout their lives. Despite advancements in medicine and technology, women’s health issues remain a global challenge. From reproductive health or chronic conditions, women often face unique health challenges and disparities. Women are at higher risk for certain chronic conditions such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and osteoporosis. Additionally, women's mental health is a significant concern, particularly because they are the backbone of day-to-day motherhood responsibilities ranging from pregnancy to child-rearing. Mothers have much higher rates of depression than the general population. Despite this, they have demonstrated remarkable strength in the face of the challenges associated with balancing paid work, family and household needs, and community expectations. To address these issues and promote women’s health, policymakers, healthcare providers, and the public much work together to ensure that women have access to quality healthcare, education, and support. This includes increasing access to affordable healthcare services and reducing social stigma around mental health and gender-based violence. Medicinal Cannabis and Women’s Health Medicinal cannabis has gained significant attention over the past decade as a potential treatment for a variety of health conditions. While much of the focus has been on its ability to alleviate symptoms in patients with chronic pain, there is also a growing interested in the use of medicinal cannabis in women’s health. Further research is needed, however researchers are discovering possible health benefits for women, such as: • Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it, causing pelvic pain and discomfort.1 • Menopause is a natural part of the aging process but can be accompanied by a variety of symptoms such as hot flashes, mood changes, and insomnia.2 • Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes fatigue, widespread pain, and tenderness throughout the body. Both sexes are affected by the condition, but women are significantly more likely to develop fibromyalgia.3 While medicinal cannabis may have potential benefits for women's health, there are also risks and potential side effects to consider. For example, cannabis should be avoided by women who are planning to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. As with any medications, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting medicinal cannabis and to use it under medical supervision. With further research, we may gain a better understanding of the potential benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis for women’s health. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognize the importance of women’s health and the need for continued efforts to promote gender equality and support women’s well-being. By advocating for women’s health and investing in the healthcare system that prioritize women’s needs, we can work towards a future when all women have the opportunity to live health, fulfilling lives. [1] Bouaziz, J., Bar On, A., Seidman, D. S., & Soriano, D. (2017). The clinical significance of endocannabinoids in endometriosis pain management. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2.1, 72-80. [2] Dahlgren, M. K., El-Abboud, C., Lambros, A., Sagar, K., Smith, R.T., et al. (2022). A survey of medical cannabis use during perimenopause and postmenopause. The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, 29(9), 1028-1036. [3] Russo, E. Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency reconsidered: current research supports the theory in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and other treatment-resistant syndromes. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), 2016.
Next Article
Starseed Medicinal now offers CBD Chewing Gum
Introducing Starseed CBD Gum, a chewing gum designed to help you reach your treatment goals. Starseed CBD gum is sugar-free, with a eucalyptus-lemon-mint flavour, and natural green speckles. It contains 20mg of CBD per gum and comes in a blister pack of 10 gums. Unique Delivery System There is a controlled release of CBD in the mouth after 5 minutes of chewing. When chewing, the gum increases salivation in the oral cavity and soothes dry mouth. The gum has a customized flavour profile that will mask any unpleasant tastes and make cannabis consumption more enjoyable. Easy to Use Gum chewing may be especially beneficial for people who have trouble measuring their daily doses while using cannabis oil spray or vaporizers. It is also easy to transport and very discreet. Special Instructions Each CBD Gum contains 20mg CBD and comes in a blister pack of 10 gums, ensuring exact distribution with each and every dose. • CBD is released into the oral cavity within 5 to 10 minutes of chewing the gum • Chew gum for as long as you want to enjoy the pleasant mint flavour • There may be a residue left in the mouth that may be spit out • Usual onset of action: 60 – 90 minutes • Usual duration of action: 8 – 12 hours Unparalleled Quality Our CBD Gum is bi-layered and comes in a child-proof blister pack with infused eucalyptus-lemon-mint flavour and natural green speckles. A technology that combines mint with chewing gum to provide a unique mouthfeel and refreshing aftertaste. The product is manufactured using a CO2 extraction technique to ensure purity and quality, and it has been third-party tested right here in Canada! Despite its potential benefits, cannabis chewing gum is still a relatively new product and more research is needed to fully understand its effects and potential side effects. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any form of medical cannabis, including cannabis chewing gum, to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you. Please contact our client care team at 1-844-756-7333 or speak to your healthcare practitioner if you have any questions about Starseed Medicinal's chewing gum.