A new report compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that alcohol and drug overdoses at work killed 32% more Americans in 2016 than in 2015.
According to the report, 217 Americans died of drug overdoses whilst at their place of work in 2016, a significant increase from the 165 fatalities recorded in 2015. However, that number constituted only a small percentage of the total number of Americans who died of drug overdoses in 2016, which totaled 64,000 fatalities.
Further, there were a total of 5,190 deaths on the job during 2015, which may make the 217 drug overdose deaths seem insignificant. However, the report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms that the number of Americans who died of drug overdoses at work is the highest number seen since 2010.
The news comes as the opioid crisis continues to ravage the country. While those Americans with a substance abuse disorder may have been at a higher risk of a fatal overdose on the job than they had been in the past, the majority of workplace overdoses did not involve opioids; rather, the most likely culprit in a fatal workplace overdose was cocaine or other drugs.
Despite these shocking statistics, a fatal overdose is not one of the most common causes of on the job fatalities. Roughly 40% of the deaths resulted from accidents involving transportation, while homicide and suicide, with the latter showing rates higher than they have been since 1992, when the BLS first began logging workplace fatality statistics.
Nevertheless, as the opioid crisis continues to take a toll on the country, the rise in the number of drug overdoses on the job is an unsettling reminder of the necessity for addiction recovery treatment. Unfortunately, accessible treatment continues to remain out of reach for some individuals, especially as more drug rehab centers close their doors, citing a lack of adequate funding.