Ohio’s opioid epidemic can strike anyone – the rich, the poor, black or white, male or female, educated or not. While this is true, some professions are hit harder than others. Construction workers have the highest rate of opioid-related deaths compared to other professions. Why?
Why Construction Workers Are at Greater Risk
According to a study on Cleveland.com, construction workers in Ohio were seven times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than workers in other professions. (Teachers and library workers had the lowest overdose rates of the professions in the study.)
What makes the rate so high for construction workers? One reason may be where the addiction begins. Many opioid addictions begin with prescribed pain medication. Though overdose usually is from heroin or fentanyl rather than prescribed pills, people turn to these more deadly drugs after using prescribed medication and becoming addicted to opioids. Construction workers are in a field where an injury is common, and doctors too often prescribe opioids as the first line of defense against pain.
Some construction workers may take pills that were prescribed for one of their coworkers to get through the pain. Sharing of prescription pills is common on work sites. However, once a source of prescribed medication runs out, unfortunately, an addicted construction worker might turn to illicit opioids to feed a destructive habit.
Chronic Pain and Addiction
Due to the intensely physical nature of the job, chronic pain is a common side effect of construction work. Whether it is kneeling or lifting all day or using heavy equipment, construction work can take a real toll on the body. Because construction work is also usually an hourly paid job, if you are not there to work, you do not get paid. Workers need the pay, so they may choose to take opioids to get through the day.
Once a worker becomes addicted to opioids, it is not unusual for that addiction to progress to the point that the person seeks out illegal street drugs in an effort to satisfy his or her craving for opioids. Sadly, illicit opioids are often much more potent than prescribed drugs, meaning that the chance of accidental overdose increases exponentially.
Unemployment In Construction
Ohio’s drug epidemic is also impacting the workforce in another way. According to the Toledo Blade, the opioid crisis is affecting Ohio’s work rate. Many people who would otherwise be working either cannot pass a drug test or are too debilitated due to drug use to work. The high incidence of drug abuse also leads to lower productivity on the job and higher rates of safety concerns.
Where Construction Workers Can Turn for Treatment
If you or any of your loved ones are dealing with an opioid dependency, please seek help. Treatment will help you find a cleaner, healthier path. It will also reduce your chances of suffering a fatal overdose or a serious accident on the job.
The Recovery Village Columbus is here to help you on your journey to recovery. Our compassionate, professional addiction specialists are here to talk with you about your treatment options today. Contact us now to get the conversation started.