Why workers in some professions are more prone to OD deaths

Dec 01, 2017

Charles Rollins of Springfield doesn’t have to tell the workers in his tree-trimming business that the profession is at high risk for drug overdoses.

The workers – like Rollins himself – are all in recovery.

New data from the Ohio Department of Health ranks the job classification that includes tree-trimming third among all professions for the rate of overdose deaths.

Charles Rollins, left, and his tree trimming crew, from left, Kevin Tingley, Charles Bailey and Jason Boring. Rollins, a recovering drug addict who lost his twin brother to an overdose started a recovery housing non-profit and a tree-trimming business to employ people in recovery. BILL LACKEY/STAFF Photo: Staff Writer

Rollins isn’t surprised.

“These kinds of workers are a dime a dozen,” he said. “They’re expendable.”

The data was obtained by the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and shared with other news outlets around the state. The Dayton Daily News used the data to rank the professions and examine what is being done about it.

Construction workers ranked first among all professions for OD deaths, the analysis found.

Rollins said many companies that employ unskilled workers don’t want to invest in drug education and treatment programs because they can easily find someone else to do the work. The newspaper’s investigation showed doctors have a higher addiction rate than the general population but are under-represented when it comes to OD deaths, possibly because they have better access to treatment.

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