MASON CITY, Iowa- Whether it’s building a new home, business, or renovating, construction can be seen everywhere; even at Daniel Watters house in Swaledale.
“We’ve had some siding done, some roofing done, a lot of tin work,” Watters said.
But a new report by the “Midwest Economic Policy Institute” is showing those in the construction industry are at high risk of getting addicted to pain killers. Watters says he is surprised by the news, but understands it is a dangerous field.
“When you are on top of a roof doing siding there’s always a chance of slipping off,” he said. “Especially some of the taller buildings that could be a 14-15 foot drop.”
Construction companies in our area say they’re not seeing the issue in our area, but the reports is shedding light on the number of construction workers who died from an opioid addiction in 2015. Over a thousand workers died in the Midwest with around being from Iowa.
“Coming from an industry where people are skilled tradesmen, people that come in to the industry that want to get into it, it’s hard to find good help,” said Ryan Burt, a local construction worker. “I think that could be a contributing factor, people choosing to use illicit drugs.”
Burt said they do check on their workers regularly, and if something is off….
“We want to make sure that everybody working is always sound of mind,” he said. “ “If something is off, tell them to go home.”
While the numbers are frightening to both Watters and Burt, Watters says change needs to happen in the medical field.
“They need to control it better,” he said. “Better restrictions. I think there are other products out there that would do just as good of a job than what they’re receiving right now as far as painkillers.”
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