Construction Workers and Miners Have Highest Risk for Drug Overuse

It’s no questions that construction workers and miners have physically demanding jobs. In sometimes brutal weather conditions all year round, hard-hat jobs require extreme physical labor in dangerous situations.

Perhaps then, it shouldn’t be surprising that a new study reveals construction workers and miners are much more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, and opioids.

Construction and extraction workers use opioids more often than all other professions combined at 3.4% vs. 2%; a higher cocaine use at 1.8% vs. 0.8%; and second most likely to use marijuana at 12.3% vs. 7.5%. Only those in service-oriented jobs used marijuana more than construction workers (12.4%).

This means that construction and extraction workers six to seven times more likely to die from an overdose.

The study’s lead researcher Danielle Ompad said the increase of drug use among construction workers comes from the physical labor demands of their job.

“They do experience a quite a bit of pain, and not just from injuries,” Ompad said. “I think a lot of them are prescribed opioids, and when their doctors stop prescribing opioids and their pain is still there, they continue to use them anyway.”

The most likely cause of cocaine use would be to stay awake and alert during hazardous worksite situations and marijuana helps them relax and unwind after stressful day.

The study’s solution proposed a multifaceted approach with screening, treatment of substance abuse, and access to affordable pain management care.

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