Gulf Breeze Recovery on the Employment Risk Associated with Drug and Alcohol Abuse

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A person’s employment may put them at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse. A study completed with 293,492 participants using data collected from 2005 – 2014 to explore if drug and alcohol use varied between occupations. The results were recently published and show varying risks of substance use according to the occupation.

Counseling at Gulf Breeze Recovery

“Many of our guests started their journey to addiction using opioids that were originally prescribed for work-related injuries. Unfortunately, after the physical injuries healed, they were left with addiction.” Barnett Gilmer, Executive Director, Gulf Breeze Recovery


A person’s employment may put them at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse. A study completed with 293,492 participants using data collected from 2005 – 2014 to explore if drug and alcohol use varied between occupations. The results were recently published and show varying risks of substance use according to the occupation.

Tying for the first-place spot as the highest risk jobs for substance use or misuse are construction and extraction jobs such as blasting, boring, drilling or mining. Not surprisingly, these positions are considered higher risk jobs for injuries, and that in part, is why they are also at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse. In these job fields, the most commonly abused substances are marijuana, cocaine, and non-medically prescribed opioids.

Workers at construction and extraction jobs are at daily risks of falls, over-exertion, or injuries from heavy equipment. Injury rates and fatalities are high. Much of the work is repetitive and basically hard physical labor. Self-medicating the job-related pain they suffer by using marijuana or opioids is common. In a catch 22, the use of marijuana or opioids puts them at even higher risk for work-related injuries, as well as accidental overdoses.

Research also shows that continuity of work can affect employee rates of substance use. Those who have regular schedules and don’t miss work are less likely to use substances than those who have sporadic employment where they miss shifts of work or have an unstable work schedule. Odds for opioid misuse doubled for workers who missed three to five days of work within a month due to injury or illness.

Employers can take steps to decrease drug and alcohol abuse on the job. Research has indicated that employees of companies with written drug policies are less likely to use cocaine. Workplace drug testing resulted in lower rates of marijuana use with employees. When workplace alcohol testing and drug screens are a part of the hiring process and termination from employment occurs from a positive drug test, fewer employees use marijuana.

Creating a fair and effective drug policy can be difficult since both opioids and marijuana may be used either as medically prescribed or recreationally. It is prudent, however, that substance abuse prevention and harm reduction programs are in place in companies where employees are working high-risk jobs to prevent both drug-related risks of injuries and accidents and to decrease overdose mortality with this high-risk population.

Barnett Gilmer, Executive Director of Gulf Breeze Recovery, a residential drug and alcohol abuse treatment facility in the Florida panhandle, stated, “Many of our guests started their journey to addiction using opioids that were originally prescribed for work-related injuries. Unfortunately, after the physical injuries healed, they were left with addiction. Helping them recover from that addiction is our job.”

About Gulf Breeze Recovery: Gulf Breeze Recovery is a holistic treatment center in Florida that is changing the future of treatment for drug and alcohol abuse with the THRIVE® program, which is focused on overcoming chronic relapse. Gulf Breeze Recovery’s THRIVE® program is a non-12-step approach and individualized designed for those who are looking for a drug and alcohol abuse treatment program to produce a different and positive result. This non-12 step program allows you to drive beyond your addictions and promotes a new outlook on life. For more information about our program or to speak with an Addiction expert, please call 855-973-3551 or contact us.

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