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Occupational Patterns in Unintentional and Undetermined Drug-Involved and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2007–2012
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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    The opioid epidemic affects multiple segments of the U.S. population (1). Occupational patterns might be critical to understanding the epidemic. Opioids are often prescribed for specific types of work-related injuries, which vary by occupation* (2). CDC used mortality data from the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance (NOMS) system to examine unintentional or undetermined drug overdose mortality within 26 occupation groups. This study included data from the 21 U.S. states participating in NOMS during 2007-2012.| Drug overdose mortality was compared with total mortality using proportional mortality ratios (PMRs) indirectly standardized for age, sex, race, year, and state. Mortality patterns specific to opioid-related overdose deaths were also assessed. Construction occupations had the highest PMRs for drug overdose deaths and for both heroin-related and prescription opioid-related overdose deaths. The occupation groups with the highest PMRs from methadone, natural and semisynthetic opioids, and synthetic opioids other than methadone were construction, extraction (e.g., mining, oil and gas extraction), and health care practitioners. The workplace is an integral part of life for the majority of the adult U.S. population; incorporating workplace research and interventions likely will benefit the opioid epidemic response.
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