Study Shows Opioid Use Highest Among Construction Workers

A study by researchers from the NYU College of Global Public Health has revealed that workers in construction and extraction industries are more likely than those in other industries to misuse prescription opioids and use cocaine.

The researches analyzed 2005-2014 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which sampled more than 293,000 U.S. adults.

Among the study population, about 16,600 (5.6%) were construction and extraction workers.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides up-to-date information on tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, mental health, and other health-related issues in the United States.

NSDUH began in 1971 and is conducted every year in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This year, almost 70,000 people will be interviewed for this important study.

As reported in Safety & Health, of 14 industries studied, workers in construction and extraction had the highest prevalence of prescription opioid misuse (3.4% compared with 2% of workers in other fields) and cocaine use (1.8% vs. 0.8%).

These workers also had the second-highest marijuana use, at 12.3% – behind service industry workers (12.4%). Around 7.5% of non-construction workers said they used marijuana.

The study added: “Having written drug policies was associated with reduced odds for cocaine use, and workplace tests for drug use during hiring and random drug testing were also associated with lower odds of marijuana use.” 

According to the CDC, in 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Of those deaths, almost 68% involved a prescription or illicit opioid.

Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States.