Construction workers are more likely to use drugs than workers in other professions, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at New York University's College of Global Public Health. The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, shows that construction workers are the most likely of all occupations to use cocaine and misuse prescription opioids (taking them for nonmedical purposes), and the second most likely to use marijuana.
The construction, mining, and extraction industries are among the largest sectors in the U.S. The hazards of this type of work--including falls, injuries from overexertion, and being struck by or caught in heavy machinery--result in high injury and fatality rates. In particular, injuries from repetitive, strenuous work can lead to treatment or self-treatment with pain medication such as marijuana or opioids.
"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 lead author Danielle Ompad, associate professor of epidemiology and deputy director of CDUHR.