Opioid-Free Pain Management from the CIRP

Opioid-Free Pain Management

Substance use by construction workers exceeds that of most other professions. Long hours, shift work, stress, mental health issues, physical injury and the stigma surrounding reaching out for help all contribute to the problem that has become worse since the onset of the pandemic.[1]

Increased use of alcohol and other drugs in construction over the past few years seems to be attributed to workers trying to cope with the stresses of work compounded with the uncertainty of the pandemic but it hasn’t subsided. The use of drugs, especially opioids, can also begin with a prescription for medication to treat chronic pain that turns into an addiction over time.

Now the Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan (CIRP) is offering a program to help manage pain without drugs.

CIRP’s Opioid-Free Pain Service is a unique program that recognizes the interplay between mental health, substance use, and the different ways people experience pain. The Service uses innovative techniques including myoActivation (a type of dry needling similar to acupuncture), restorative yoga, group therapy and pain management workshops, all to treat pain without drugs.

Construction associations throughout BC are gearing up to welcome dedicated harm-reduction co-ordinators to pilot the program at no cost in partnership with the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. The program started in May and will run until June 30,, 2024. Call CIRP to register and get more information: 604-521-8611 or 1-888-521-8611.

In addition, the CIRP’s toolkit called Substance Use in the Workplace: Supporting Employers and Employees in the Trades is a comprehensive guide to resources and supports for recognizing and managing mental health challenges and substance use disorders in the workplace. It was created in collaboration with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and contains  easy-to-use  information to help direct people to compassionate, realistic solutions.

[1] See a summary of a LifeWorks survey published by Construction Connect, Daily Commercial News September 7, 2021 here. There is a link to download the entire survey results at the bottom of the article.