Basin Oilfield Workers Testing Positive for Meth More Than Any Other Drug

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA- Many Basin oilfield workers are getting high instead of some much needed shut-eye.

"They're using methamphetamine to stay going and keep working those long hours," Vaughn Donaldson, Director of Training at TC Safety, said.

TC Safety tries to take the danger out of the oilfield, much in part by doing drug testing. Donaldson says similar testers around the Basin say workers are testing positive for meth more than any other drug and the numbers are growing.

"People are making good money right now so they can afford meth and some of those illicit drugs," Donaldson said.

Oilfield Worker Thomas Gibson says the abuse is running rampant.

"It's one of the easiest things for someone to get a hold of," he adds.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant. It makes people feel more awake but they're still altered.

"I've seen people actually fall down because of the heat but they were also on methamphetamines because they've been up for days which means they're not in their right state-of-mind," Gibson said.

"There could be some deadly consequences from mixing methamphetamines with being up for two or three days and working around heavy equipment and driving down the roads," Donaldson said.

Oilfield Worker Robert Barron says, "It's not worth it. You can hurt yourself or hurt your coworkers."

"They're bad for everyone around them. They're going to end up getting someone hurt," Gibson said.

TC Safety says most oil companies have a zero-tolerance policy.

The Midland Drug Enforcement Administration tells NewsWest 9 a lot of the meth that workers are buying is strong, running at roughly a 90% purity rate. It's reportedly trafficked into the United States from "superlabs" in Mexico.