Opioid misuse and overdose deaths are a public health crisis affecting U.S. workplaces, including the construction industry. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has announced a new resource for employers and workers affected by the opioid crisis—Using Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose in the Workplace: Information for Employers and Workers, a fact sheet for workplaces considering implementation of a naloxone program, according to www.cdc.gov.
Naloxone is a drug that can reverse many of the life-threatening effects of overdoses from opioids. As the opioid crisis continues, employers and workers are confronting overdose situations in the workplace. The fact sheet offers a series of steps for employers to consider when deciding whether their workplaces should establish a naloxone program, making the overdose reversal medication available in the event of an overdose.
According to 2017 data from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, on average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Workplaces are increasingly becoming places where overdoses are occurring; the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths at work from nonmedical use of drugs and alcohol increased by at least 38 percent annually.
"With overdose events increasing in the workplace, having naloxone available can provide a tool that workplaces can use, along with first aid measures to support breathing, to provide aide in the event of an opioid overdose while waiting on first responders to arrive on the scene," says NIOSH Director John Howard. "NIOSH developed this fact sheet to help employers decide if having naloxone available is right for their workplace."
The fact sheet provides an overview of opioids and naloxone; a series of questions for employers and workers to consider when looking at whether a naloxone program in their workplaces is appropriate; and information about resources needed to implement and maintain such a program.
NIOSH developed this resource as part of its broader effort to confront the opioid crisis. NIOSH's plan to fight the opioid crisis from an occupational perspective includes providing resources for workers, employers and occupational safety and health professionals to help them learn more about the opioid crisis, including data, field investigations and research, and tools to help.