Workers in the construction trades, mining, and extraction are more likely to misuse opioids and cocaine than all other professions, according to a new study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at New York University, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. This is the third major study to be released regarding the impact of opioids on the construction industry.
Analyzing data from 2005-2014, the study looked at more than 200,000 responses from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Researchers determined that 3.4% of construction workers misused opioids, compared to 2% across all other professions. Workers were also twice as likely to abuse cocaine. “It makes sense that we see higher rates of construction workers using pain-relieving substances such as opioids and marijuana, given the labor-intensive nature of their work and high rates of injuries,” says Danielle Ompad, the study’s lead author.
The study ultimately concluded that alongside an increased risk for injury, an unstable schedule or missing work were also more likely to lead construction workers to abusing drugs.
“Coupled with reports of high overdose mortality among construction workers, our findings suggest that prevention and harm reduction programming is needed to prevent drug-related risks and mortality among this population.”