Injured workers more likely to die from suicide, drug overdose: Study

Occupational injuries have been linked to a higher occurrence of drug-related deaths and suicide, according to data posted Thursday by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The study, published in July’s American Journal of Industrial Medicine, examined New Mexico’s workers compensation data for 100,806 workers injured from 1994 to 2000 and Social Security Administration earnings and mortality data through 2013 along with National Death Index cause-of-death data, according to an abstract posted by NIOSH, which supported the study.

Researchers found that occupational injuries suffered by women who took more than a week off were associated with a 193% increase in the risk of drug‐related deaths and a 92% increase in the risk of suicide. For men, such a lost‐time injury was associated with a 29% increase in the risk of drug‐related death and a 72% increased risk of suicide, Les Boden, a Boston-based professor at Boston University School of Health and senior researcher, said Thursday in an interview.

Earlier studies have shown that injured workers have elevated rates of opioid use and depression, researchers wrote, adding that “depression is among the most well-documented health consequences of workplace injury.”

The study also found that risks were elevated for alcohol‐related deaths and lost-time injuries for both men and women but were not statistically significant, according to the abstract.

The new findings follow talks this week among occupational health experts on suicide and the American worker, as well as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s latest focus on suicide and drug overdoses among construction workers.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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