New Program Combats Soaring Workplace Overdose Deaths

With opioid-related fatalities in the U.S. at an all-time high, a new National Safety Council initiative aims to equip workplaces with lifesaving tools and training.

Overdoses are the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States and can happen anywhere or anytime — including in the workplace. Deaths on the job from drug overdoses have increased 536% since 2011. To combat this alarming trend, the National Safety Council (NSC) is launching a new workplace safety program, Respond Ready Workplace, designed to increase awareness of the need for naloxone in workplaces and ensure people are trained to use it.

Workplace Overdose, opioid-related fatalities
(Photo: Adobe Stock / steheap)

Deaths on the job from drug overdoses have increased 536% since 2011.

“The Respond Ready Workplace program is a pivotal step forward in reducing overdose deaths and protecting workers everywhere,” said NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin. “The opioid crisis has reached every corner of society, affecting workers in all industries and occupations. By equipping workplaces with naloxone and the knowledge to use it, we can make a tangible difference in saving lives from the workplace to anyplace.”

Key highlights of the Respond Ready Workplace initiative include:

  • Advocacy and Education: Most employers do not understand the tragic data on the increasing fatalities in the workplace. NSC will provide educational materials to raise awareness about the opioid crisis and the importance of naloxone in mitigating its impact.
  • Employee Training: NSC will provide comprehensive training resources to educate employees on the proper administration of naloxone, empowering all workers to respond swiftly and effectively in emergency situations.
  • Naloxone Distribution: The program will guide employers on how to obtain and incorporate medications like naloxone into their workplace first aid kits or other accessible locations.

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In addition to advocating for policies that promote naloxone availability in workplaces, NSC supports the WORK To Save Lives Act and participated in the recent Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force’s Second Annual Naloxone Awareness Day and Training.

“Naloxone should be an essential part of all emergency medical kits because it saves lives — plain and simple,” said Congressman Trone, co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force. “I’ve always been a strong advocate for ensuring naloxone is easy to obtain because I know that overdoses can happen anywhere and at any time. With opioid overdoses on the rise, workplaces need to be prepared to handle a possible overdose quickly and effectively. It’s just common sense.”

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