While the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the headlines, another epidemic in the United States has continued apace — the opioid epidemic. Half a million opioid overdose deaths have occurred in the United States since 1999, when the opioid epidemic began. The causes of the epidemic include the rise in prescriptions for opioid pain medications, including for work-related pain. Miners and other occupations identified as physically demanding and at higher injury risk have been found to be at increased risk for opioid overdose . However, awareness of the risk factors that might lead to opioid use, the potential hazards associated with their use, and resources to prevent addiction and death can allow miners to make choices that can reduce these risks.
Given this context, we developed a miner health and safety training to promote “opioid hazard awareness” in the Massachusetts stone, sand and gravel mining workforce during annual required health and safety training. We evaluated its impact with a pre- and post-training survey. Survey results confirmed that even a short training improved miners’ knowledge, and most felt that the training was highly relevant and actionable. The training was then modified for a national audience and adapted for virtual delivery and by those without prior background.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2022) 39:55–61, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-021-00515-7