ST. LOUIS — The construction job industry is one of the industries hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. A seminar at the University of Missouri – Saint Louis on Thursday and Friday is looking to help fix the problem.
More than $1 million an hour is spent fighting the opioid epidemic in the workplace, according to the Missouri Hospital Association.
Doug Swanson, labor studies program coordinator at UMSL, said the opioid addiction keeps one million people out of the workforce.
People get hurt on the job, are over-prescribed and develop potentially deadly habits.
“You start out taking the pill,” Swanson said. “That's made in a controlled environment. They know what's in that pill. If I had become addicted and ran out of the pills, I start buying them on the street. Once I can't get them on the street, then you go into heroin. At that point, you have no idea what’s in the heroin.”
One out of three people know someone affected by the opioid epidemic, Swanson said.
"In some cases, somebody who has a problem at work gets a bad drug test,” Swanson said. "They lose health insurance causing them to lose the ability to get into a treatment program because they don't have the funds to pay for a program. It becomes a spiral.”
The “Opioids In The Workplace” seminar is at the UMSL Millennium Student Center is taking place on the third floor and it's open to everyone.
It costs $100 for the two days, with meals included. There will be guest speakers and breakout work sessions. The entire community is invited to attend help end an epidemic that’s not only plaguing the construction industry but jobs across the country.