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When Joe Forsythe returned to the West Texas oil fields last year after a stint in a drug rehab facility, he figured he had beaten his methamphetamine addiction.Drug use is a significant factor in workplace injuries and crimes involving oilfield workers, according to drug counselors, hospital and police officials and court records in West Texas, the epicenter of the U.S. shale sector.Drug charges in the industry town of Midland more than doubled between 2012 and 2016, to 942 from 491, according to police data.The increase in drug crime stretched through two boom periods in the West Texas oil patch, before and after a crude price crash that hit in 2014 .Several oil firms with major operations in the Permian Basin declined to discuss how they handle drugs in the oil patch or did not respond to Reuters' inquiries.Despite corporate and regulatory efforts to curb drug abuse, many oilfield workers regularly use stimulants on long shifts of grueling work for relatively high pay, said drug counselors, local law enforcement officials and oil field workers recovering from addictions.Rising oil prices have brought more admissions for methamphetamine abuse, Thomason said.
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