New NIOSH Resource Addresses Preventing Overdose Deaths in the Workplace
October 11, 2018
Contact: Stephanie Stevens (202) 245-0641
Fact sheet outlines questions for employers to consider before making naloxone available at work
Opioid misuse and overdose deaths are a public health crisis affecting the nation, including workplaces. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces a new resource for employers and workers dealing with the opioid crisis. The new factsheet, Using Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose in the Workplace: Information for Employers and Workers¸ is a resource for workplaces that are considering implementing a naloxone program.
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 at the workplace. Workers, clients, customers, and visitors may be at risk of an opioid overdose in a workplace. This factsheet provides a series of steps for employers to consider when deciding if their workplace 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 sites where overdoses are occurring, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths at work from non-medical use of drugs and alcohol increased by at least 38% 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,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD. “NIOSH developed this factsheet to help employers decide if having naloxone available is right for their workplace.”
The NIOSH factsheet provides an overview of opioids and naloxone. It also gives employers and workers a series of questions to consider when looking at whether a naloxone program in their workplace is appropriate, as well as 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. The NIOSH framework, which is 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 learn more about the opioid crisis including data, field investigations and research, as well as tools to help.
The NIOSH effort is part of the larger response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which outlined a 5-point strategy to combat the crisis, including improving prevention, data collection, and research.