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Opioid overdoses linked to construction injuries

Boston construction workers know all too well the pain of working through an injury on the job in order to keep earning a paycheck as the family breadwinner. But could pushing through the pain be contributing to the opioid addiction problem here in Massachusetts?

As it turns out, one study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has indeed linked opioid overdoses with construction hazards.

The findings included information collected over five years on those working in the fields of construction, commercial fishing and farming. Almost 25 percent of the reported overdose fatalities during the reporting period occurred to those who worked in that trio of industries.

The problem often stems from a single workplace injury that doesn't heal completely. The worker initially gets prescribed opioid pain pills. When the injury fails to resolve, the worker might continue to take the pills, buying them on the black market where the purity and strength are not guaranteed. The sad result is a higher than average incidence of overdoses.

Workers may be convinced that they need to continue working through the pain in order to remain employed and earning. But there is a far better way to approach the problem of a workplace injury.

Filing for workers' compensation for the on-the-job injury provides a clear path to financial recovery. Not only will the benefits cover any needed medical treatment, but workers' compensation benefits can include regular cash payments that can keep a family afloat while the breadwinner heals.

If you are faced with a potentially career-ending injury, it might also be possible to pursue a lump-sum financial settlement. If you have questions about an injury that occurred while you were on the job, it's worthwhile to discuss your case with a Boston workers' compensation attorney.

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