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Increased action to prevent construction drug abuse

When many people in Connecticut consider construction accidents, they think about incidents which could have been prevented. However, they may not consider the aftereffects of some accidents. Some construction workers may find that after they have incurred an injury on the job, they have a new, more serious problem--substance abuse.

Construction workers work in an industry which can lead to a high amount of strains and other injuries. An insurance company has said that opioid prescriptions made up 20 percent of the expenses incurred in 2015 worker's compensation claims. This trend may be cause for alarm, as substance abuse can lead to heavy costs for companies. Companies may spend $3,670 on an employee's health care and $5,440 when a worker is unable to come into work. Construction firms may also incur additional costs if they have to replace part of their workforce because of substance abuse.

This trend has led some construction companies to increase their drug-testing programs. One construction company has chosen to employ a more rigorous drug test to identify opioids which workers may abuse. While these comprehensive tests can be more expensive, the company feels that they are worth the extra expense. Urine tests do not always identify substances such as oxycodone, and instead reveal the presence of marijuana, amphetamines and heroin, making it more difficult for employers to know if their workers are abusing opioid prescriptions after an injury.

People may find that they become addicted to an opioid after taking the medication for a work injury. Those who suspect that their injury could have been prevented may benefit from speaking to a lawyer.

Source:, "Construction industry stays vigilant against opioid abuse," Matt Pilon, Sept. 4, 2017

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