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Drug use most prevalent in the construction industry, study finds

Construction work is an inherently dangerous job. The work is physically demanding, and even under the best of circumstances, there is always a risk of an accident. But when mind-altering substances are involved, the danger on the worksite increases dramatically.

A recent study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal found that workers in the construction industry had the highest likelihood of abusing substances than workers in any other industry. Use of non-prescription opioids, cocaine and marijuana was especially common, according to the study.

In an industry that is already so dangerous, working while under the influence of drugs is especially hazardous. Careless behavior on the worksite could lead to serious injury – or even death – for a drug abuser and their colleagues.

Nonetheless, the lead author of the study points out that these findings are understandable. Workers in this industry put their bodies through strenuous labor throughout the workday. It makes sense that such workers would be more inclined to seek out such substances for pain management.

Vicious circle

Drug use is a dangerous habit for anyone. But for construction workers, such behavior can lead to a risky downward spiral. When construction workers use drugs, they are more likely to sustain injuries on the job. Injured workers are more likely to abuse drugs for pain relief.

Loss of legal protection

Construction workers have the right to certain benefits if they suffer a work-related injury. Employees may file for workers’ compensation, while contractors may file a personal injury suit. However, workers forfeit their rights to such compensation when their injuries occurred due to their own drug use. Thus, they may be out of work with high medical bills and serious disability – without any form of income to cover their expenses.

Construction work is one of the most dangerous professions in the country. When workers acting responsibly sustain an injury on the job, they are entitled to certain benefits to help them heal and get back on their feet. It’s important to understand what types of behavior could make you exempt from receiving the benefits you otherwise deserve.

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