Construction Industry Teeming with Opioid Abuse

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Robison Wells
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A new study from New York University shows that construction workers are more likely to overdose on opioids than people in any other profession. Much of this has to do with the risk of injury on the jobsite, as well as long working hours where workers may feel the need to take ‘just one more pill’ to get through the day.

The study shows that a construction worker has a six to seven times higher chance of overdosing than the average person. This isn’t news to people who have been in the construction industry, though it may not be talked about very much. It’s hard labor in often grueling conditions.

“My father was a construction worker, and there is a mentality of work hard play hard,” Addiction Campuses’ Brian Sullivan said.

Sullivan grew up with a front seat view of construction workers and addiction.

“My father struggled with alcoholism for years,” Sullivan said, “And a lot of it had to do with the stress of the job.”

Stress of a job that's contracted, meaning no guaranteed work year-round, no sick days, and a high rate of on-the-job injury.

“Many of them, if they don't work, they don't get paid. So, a lot of them push through the pain and push through different injuries to get the job done on time,” Sullivan said.

Taking time off to go through rehab is often out of the question. Studies further show that prescription rates in the construction industry is 20% higher than in other jobs, and that insurance is often an issue.

“Many of them don't have insurance. Many of them aren't covered, so they're less likely maybe to go to the doctor for an issue or for an injury,” Sullivan said.

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