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Construction Workers Among the Most Susceptible to Opioid Abuse

Opioid Abuse - Opioid abuse is a growing problem in the construction. The job related injuries are a big part of the issue.


Construction Workers Carry a Heavy Load


Compared to the millions of workers and job categories around the world, construction workers carry a very heavy load and many believe this leads to opioid abuse..

In fact, construction workers expose themselves to serious hazards on a daily basis.

In total, the construction industry accounted for 965 out of 5,147 work-related fatalities in the U.S. during the year of 2017.

And in 2016, over 24,000 construction workers were injured badly enough to have to take time off of work.

This leads to one question – why are construction workers abusing opioids?

The answer is simple – construction workers are prescribed opioids for pain and injuries at very alarming rates.

Keep reading to learn more about how construction workers are facing the brunt of opioid addictions, and what you can do to curb this problem if you are facing it head-on right now.

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Opioid Abuse and Construction Workers – How Common is the Abuse


According to data between 2012-2014, roughly 1.3% of construction workers reported opioid abuse and other pain medication abuse.

In addition, the construction industry, in general, has the second-highest rate of both opioid and pain medication abuse compared to other industries in the United States.

Due to these shocking numbers, there have been more opioid-related overdoses in the construction business.

So, the use and abuse of opioids in construction workers are very prominent and very concerning. But why construction workers?

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Construction Workers are Given Opioids as a Form of Treatment at Alarming Rates


Working in construction is very laboring. Injuries combined with the daily wear and tear of the strenuous job leads to bouts of pain.

For these issues alone, doctors are prescribing opioids to construction workers at very alarming rates, which leads to people abusing the drug.

On top of that, in 2016, three out of four injured construction workers were prescribed a narcotic pain killer.

One report composed by CNA Financial noted that opioids account for 20% of the total prescription drug spending – a higher amount compared to any other industry.

Here are a few other findings according to the CDC:

  • Construction workers have the highest amount of heroin-related overdose deaths.
  • 25% of fatal opioid overdoses among all workers is represented by construction workers.
  • Compared to workers in other industries, construction workers are seven times more likely to die of an opioid overdose.

Researchers understand why construction workers are unfortunately more likely to use pain-relieving drugs – injuries are common and the job is extremely strenuous.

With doctors continuing to hand out these pain medications, the numbers are remaining grim. Fortunately, there is help you can seek out.

What Exactly are Opioids?

Derived from opium poppy plants, opioids are regularly synthesized in labs due to their simple chemical structure.

Opioids act directly on the central nervous system, and they relax the body and relieve mild to severe pain.

They are often used in medicine such as cough suppressants, painkillers, and anesthetics. One of the most well-known and highly potent opioids is heroin – an illegal drug that is highly addictive.

However, the opioid family contains prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone or Vicodin, and oxycodone or Percocet.

These drugs are something many of us have taken to relieve the side effects of minor to major surgeries.


Opioid Abuse and the Dangers of On-Site Impairment


A handful of construction workers are so highly addicted to opioids that they will continue to abuse the drug on job sites. Addiction to opioids has a significant impact on job site safety.

Adverse effects of opioid use include dizziness, cognitive impairment, drowsiness, and depression.

Many construction workers do notify their supervisor about their prescription medications. They also let supervisors know when or where they are taking them.

This info allows the supervisor to assign them to  less-strenuous or dangerous jobs as a result that will not require the use of heavy machinery.

But, as we mentioned before, many construction workers abuse the drug privately. Someone who uses privately poses a threat to other workers on the job site, including themselves.

Under the influence of opioids, you are more likely to enter an area without the correct safety measures, you’ll have very poor balance and use poor judgment, and you be an all-around danger to everyone.

Construction jobs are already dangerous enough (even when not impaired), and everyone is under risk when working with someone who is under the influence.

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The Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Abuse


Opioid Use Disorder or OUD can be diagnosed by a medical professional if you have two or more of the following eleven symptoms listed below, according to the DSM-5.

1. Opioids are generally taken for longer than expected and at higher dosages.

2. A lot of your time is spent high, trying to find your next high, or recovering.

3. You have had many unsuccessful attempts at cutting down or quitting opioid use.

4. You have constant cravings to use the drug.

5. Because of the use, you fail to fulfill obligations at work, home, or school.

6. You continue using opioids despite having constant interpersonal or social problems caused by the use.

7. You quit going to important occupational, social, or recreational activities due to opioid use.

8. You will use it in particularly hazardous situations.

9. You continue using opioids despite having a psychological or physical problem that was caused or exacerbated by opioid use.

10. You have increased tolerance, meaning you need to increase the number of opioids you use in order to achieve the desired ‘high.’

11. You have mild to severe withdrawal periods when you stop taking opioids. Symptoms may include anxiety, fast heart rate, flu-like symptoms, pain, vomiting, sweating, and more.

Opioid addiction can be treated using so many different methods. It is best that you admit yourself into a rehab center; that way, you will be closely monitored by medical professionals and therapists during the withdrawal period.

You will also be temporarily taken out of situations that are dangerous and harmful to the well-being of yourself and others. If you are addicted to hydrocodone or oxycodone, it is time to reach out and get the help you deserve.


Resurgence Addiction Rehab Centers


Addiction treatment at resurgence is a great way to get started in the recovery process. Your job is very difficult, but it’s being made even more difficult by abusing opioids.

We offer both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs that are absolutely incredible and will be a luxury away from home.

You will have top-of-the-line medical professionals, therapists, and staff to help treat your opioid addiction and help you safely withdraw from the drug.

After the detox period is over, you will be placed in residential treatment – as home away from home almost like a resort – you will have your own room and around-the-clock care.

You will also have the amazing opportunity to be a part of group therapy as well as individual therapy. In addition, you will get to learn more about your addiction as well as healthy coping mechanisms for when you return to normal life and work.

The team at Resurgence is here for you, and your first step to recovery is admitting yourself.

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Final Thoughts on Opioid Abuse


Construction workers have it hard. The job is extremely strenuous, and if you are a construction worker, you have more than likely been injured at least once or almost injured.

It is a high-risk job with many factors that make it very difficult to face on a daily basis. In addition, doctors tend to prescribe opioids to construction workers at highly alarming rates which contributes to the opioid abuse.

Opioids are very easy to get addicted to, which is what so many construction workers are facing now. It is a crisis and should be looked at accordingly.

However, there is help, and you can beat this vicious cycle simply by recognizing the problem and admitting yourself into a treatment center for help.

Do not try to come off of opioids on your own – it can be very dangerous. You should always have the supervision of medical professionals during the withdrawal process.

You should be a part of the therapy that you will get in residential rehab centers – it will help you learn about addiction and substance abuse as well as underlying factors that got you to that point.

Take the positive step now towards recovery and take your life back, one step at a time.

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