Substance Abuse in the Construction Industry: A Growing Problem

The construction industry is a demanding, high-stress field. It's no wonder then that many workers in the industry turn to alcohol and other drugs to cope with the stress. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around 15% of all construction workers in the United States have a substance abuse disorder, compared to only 8.6% of the general population. This is a troubling statistic, and it's important for employers and employees in the construction industry to be aware of it.

Blue Collar and Substance Abuse Relation

There are a number of reasons why construction workers are more likely to suffer from substance abuse disorders than the general population. One reason is that the work can be dangerous and physically demanding. Construction workers often have to do strenuous labor in difficult conditions, and they may be exposed to hazardous materials. This can take a toll on their mental and physical health, and it can lead to stress and anxiety.

Another reason for the high rate of substance abuse among construction workers is that they are often isolated from mainstream society. They work in remote locations or on construction sites that are far from town, and they often have few opportunities to socialize with people outside of their industry. This can lead to boredom and depression, which can, in turn, lead to drug and alcohol abuse.


It's important for employers in the construction industry to be aware of these risks and take steps to reduce them. They should provide their employees with a safe and healthy work environment, and they should also offer support services such as counseling and addiction treatment.


Employees in the construction industry should also be encouraged to seek help if they are struggling with substance abuse. By working together, we can make the construction industry a safer and healthier place for everyone.

The construction industry is an important part of our economy, and it employs millions of people across the country. However, we cannot ignore the fact that many of these workers are suffering from substance abuse disorders. We need to do more to support them, and we need to give them the resources they need to recover. With awareness and understanding, we can make a difference.
  • 12% have an alcohol use disorder compared to 7.5% nationally

  • 16.5% of construction workers reported heavy alcohol consumption within the past month, nearly twice the average of all full-time workers surveyed

  • 11.6% of construction workers reported illicit drug use within the past month

  • 14.3% of construction workers were diagnosed with a substance use disorder in the past year, more than 1 ½ times the average of all full-time workers surveyed

  • 2.3% have a marijuana use disorder

Risks of Working Under the Influence


There are many risks associated with working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some of these include:

  • Inability to accurately complete tasks

  • Poor judgement and decision making

  • Slower reaction time

  • Falling asleep on the job

  • Having an accident due to lack of focus or coordination

  • Unsafe work practices

  • Getting injured or killed on the job

These are just a few of the risks associated with substance abuse while working. The consequences can be tragic, not only for the individual worker but also for their families and coworkers.

It is important for employers to be aware of the signs of drug and alcohol abuse in their workers, and to have a policy in place for dealing with these issues. Employees should also be aware of the risks associated with working while under the influence, and know what resources are available to them if they need help.


The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries to work in, and substance abuse can make it even more dangerous.


Keeping Your Job While in Treatment

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offer some job protections for workers in treatment for substance abuse disorders, but there are limits. The ADA prohibits discrimination against employees with disabilities and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for them.


FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for employees to deal with their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. But an employee's job is not necessarily protected if they take leave under the FMLA—it depends on the employer's policies.

Short-term disability insurance is another option for workers in treatment for substance abuse disorders. Many employers offer this benefit, and it can provide income replacement during the time a worker is unable to work because of their illness. But not all employers offer short-term disability insurance, and even if they do, coverage may be limited.


Employee Assistant Programs (EAPs) are confidential and provide a variety of services, including counseling and referrals for treatment. What is said in a meeting with your EAP will stay confidential, and they could assist you in finding a treatment center that may be able to fit your needs.


Ultimately, whether or not a worker in treatment for a substance abuse disorder can keep their job will depend on their employer's policies and practices. It's important for employees to know their rights and what protections are available to them. Doing the research is crucial.

Available Resources

If you find yourself struggling while working in the field, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help those in your situation. The following is a list of just some of the organizations that may be able to offer assistance:

  • The National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

  • The American Counseling Association (ACA)

  • The American Psychological Association (APA)

  • The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK)

If you are struggling, please reach out to one of these organizations or another professional organization for help. You are not alone in this. We all need help at times and there is no shame in seeking assistance from those who are trained to help. Remember, you are not alone.


If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please reach out for help. These resources can provide support and assistance during difficult times. Remember, there is always help available.

 
At Chateau Recovery, we understand the issues that come with working in the construction field. The stress and anxiety of deadlines and physical labor can take a toll on a person. We can help guide you through the path of recovery with our 6 Dimensions of Wellness. You can take a look at every facet of your life and find out what you need to work on. Our admissions line is ready for your call at any time. To learn more, call (435) 222-5225 today.