Opioid Epidemic Hit Midwest Construction Industry Hard

Published: 03/2/2018 | Author:

Over the last two decades, the opioid crisis hit the United States hard. From the poor and the wealthy to the rural and the urban, every community has felt the sting of this serious epidemic. However, recent studies show that one group was hit particularly hard by this crisis: construction workers of the Midwest. In areas like Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa, almost 1,000 Midwestern construction workers died of opioid overdoses in 2015.

opioid epidemic

This is a serious wakeup call for many, as most of these individuals were employed with various construction companies, flying in the face of the stereotype that most addicts and victims of overdose are homeless and unemployed.

Construction workers are especially vulnerable to this issue because their jobs are so physically demanding, and they are liable to experience a serious injury at work. When this does occur, their company will often pay for them to get treatment in the form of prescription opioids, and because their pain is masked by these drugs, they will often return to work. Not only is this dangerous because operating machinery while using opioids is strictly forbidden by doctors but also because it lets these employees believe they are healthy again before they are actually ready to return to work.

The Dangerous Cycle of Prescription Opioid Use and Abuse

We are only now beginning to scratch the surface of understanding the truth about the dangers behind prescription opioids. Though we once thought they were safe as long as they were only used in the way a doctor prescribed, it is becoming clearer that taking opioids for a long period of time (even as prescribed) is actually very problematic.

  • Taking opioids for more than just 7 days at a time can lead to a considerably higher chance of becoming addicted.
  • Those who take opioids for just a few weeks can become dependent on them and tolerant to their effects, which encourages abuse.
  • People often go to great lengths to get more drugs, either choosing to look for a different doctor or to buy them illegally online.
  • People who are no longer able to receive prescription opioids and those who experience higher tolerances that cause them to look for stronger drugs often turn to heroin and fentanyl, dangerous opioids that cause tens of thousands of overdoses every year.

People who take opioids sometimes think that they are treating or curing their pain, but the truth is actually much murkier. These drugs are only masking the experience of pain, which will cause a person to feel well even when they are not. In turn, the individual will come to rely more and more on these drugs to get them through the day. According to a study published in the medical journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, those who use opioids for a long period of time actually experience decreased tolerance for pain over time.

Get Help Today

We want to help you find safe, affordable treatment for yourself or a loved one who is suffering from opioid addiction. Call 866-351-3840(Who Answers?) now to speak with a treatment advisor and begin your journey of recovery today.

Get Help Today Phone icon 800-654-0987 Info icon Who Answers?