Discussions about the U.S. opioid epidemic are frequent, but the impact of opioids on workers may be left out of the conversation. Certain occupations, such as emergency medical services, law enforcement, and environmental services, face a high risk of occupational exposure to opioids — including the extremely toxic fentanyl and carfentanil — when responding to overdoses.
But that is only part of the problem. Workers in high-injury occupations, such as construction, are often prescribed opioids as treatment for work-related injuries. The medication can quickly lead to opioid use disorders, addiction, or even death.