Construction Injuries that lead to Prescription Drug Addiction

Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Did you know construction workers are more likely to become addicted to drugs than workers in other fields? In particular, they often abuse prescription drugs enough that drug addiction treatment is commonly needed.  

If this surprises you, think about the high risk of injury in the construction field. It’s about 77% higher than the average injury rate across the country. And major injuries lead to a trip to the hospital or doctor, resulting in a prescription for drugs that will dull the pain.

Some people have no problem stopping their use of prescription drugs once the pain is gone. But many people struggle with this. Or worse, the pain never goes away and they’re now dependent on the drugs. Here’s what you need to know about why so many construction workers need prescription drug addiction treatment.

Most Common Injuries That Require Prescription Drugs

There’s a long list of injuries that construction workers are likely to suffer on the job. But a few are more likely than others to require prescription drugs to reduce the pain.

These are some of the most common injuries that could lead to drug use that requires drug addiction treatment:

  • Falls: The most common type of injury involves falls from cranes, roofs, scaffolding, and ladders.
  • Falling objects: Even construction workers who aren’t high up can get injured on the job. Falling objects can hit them while they’re standing on the ground and cause spinal and brain injuries.
  • Equipment accidents: Construction workers use lots of heavy machinery that can injure them. This ranges from forklifts and bulldozers running them over to nail guns shooting nails into their skin.
  • Stress injuries: This job requires lots of repetitive movements, such as bending and lifting the same way over and over again. This leads to a need for prescription drugs.

These types of accidents can cause a range of injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Cuts
  • Eye injuries
  • Amputation of fingers, toes, or limbs
  • Sprains and strains
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

As you might imagine, these injuries are painful. This leads to a need for prescription painkillers. While following doctor’s orders to use these drugs for a short period of time is fine, construction workers who abuse medication should seek drug addiction treatment.

The Drugs That Construction Workers Are Most Likely to Use

Studies show that construction workers are most likely to abuse opioids. This describes prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin. However, heroin and fentanyl are also opioids. This means construction workers don’t always stick to legal, prescription opioids after an injury. In fact, construction workers are also more likely than people in other industries to use cocaine and marijuana.

One study showed 3.4% of construction workers claimed they had abused prescription opioids, compared to 2% of workers across other fields. Also, 1.8% of construction workers claimed they had used cocaine. This is higher than the 0.08% in other industries.

Additionally, 12.3% admitted to marijuana use in the last month, compared to 7.5% across other fields. This is second only to people in the service industry, where 12.4% admitted to using marijuana in the last month.

Of course, using drugs while working at a job that requires you to use heavy machinery and work on tall platforms is dangerous. Doing so can lead to serious injuries, and the pain from these injuries might trigger or cause prescription drug addiction. It’s a vicious cycle that many construction workers struggle with stopping.

If you work in the construction industry and find that you can’t quit using prescription drugs, it’s time to get help from professionals. Contact Bedrock Recovery Center today and let us help you get started on your path to recovery.

  1. Construction Workers Most Likely to Misuse Opioids. (2019, October 30).
  2. National Crisis: Opioid Abuse in the Construction Industry. (2018, August 28).
  3. Common Construction Injury Types. (n.d.).
  4. Butanis, B. (2018, April 30). What Are Opioids?
  5. Of all professions, construction workers most likely to use opioids and cocaine. (2020, February 18).

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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