Beyond that, the article certainly makes it seem like working in an oilsands operation is a horrible experience. If you live in-camp you're not allowed to booze it up or get stoned. And your employers actually have the temerity to periodically search the quarters that -- get this -- they essentially provide for free to make sure that you aren't boozing it up or getting stoned.
And with good reason. Up to 20 percent of workplace fatalities are routinely found to be under the recent influence of drugs or alcohol. Lost-time accidents -- incidents in which work must be stopped in order to respond to either injury of a worker or damage to equipment -- are especially costly for oil sands projects, which carry particularly high costs associated with labour, equipment, and lost productivity.
Regardless of what the Rolling Stone author in question and their editors would like people to take away from this article, it essentially boils down to this: if you're the kind of person who can't find in yourself the discipline to give up your drugs and alcohol for a couple weeks at a time, working in the oilsands can be a pretty tough experience. If you can find in yourself that kind of discipline, it's pretty sweet.