43% Of Drug Overdoses Occur at the Workplace
93,657 people died of drug overdoes in 2021 in U.S.

Consider Adding Naloxone to Your Workplace
Open to the public and warehousing are two high risk locations.

Depending on your circumstances, doing so could save a life.

With opioid overdoses rising to record numbers,
federal agencies and safety organizations in the United States are urging employees to supply their workplaces with naloxone (aka Narcan) nasal spray, which can reverse the effects of an overdose if administered quickly enough.

In Canada, the government of
Ontario, under a new law enacted in June, is requiring employers in certain high-risk industries like construction to have these naloxone kits at worksites and train employees on how to use them or face liability for overdoses and potentially steep fines if they do not deploy the kits.

Although the U.S. government has not yet mandated that naloxone kits be kept in the workplace, safety experts have strongly recommended that employers do so. As early as 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General recommended its use by the general public.

By now it has become quite common for police officers, emergency medical services provider and community service workers to carry the naloxone kits, and many lives have been saved as a result.

Less than a year ago,
CDC researchers also urged employers acquire the kits. “Overdose deaths occur across the workforce but are more common in some industries. As much as 43% of all drug overdoses deaths at work occurred specifically in the transportation and warehousing, construction, and healthcare and social assistance sectors,” they observed.

In 2021, the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) produced a video, “Addressing Opioid Overdoses in the Workplaces,” to help employers and workers better understand the risk of opioid overdose and encourage employers to establish a workplace naloxone availability and use program. This video was based on a NIOSH factsheet:

NIOSH Video: “Addressing Opioid Overdoses in the Workplaces,” produced Mar 9, 2021, 5:34 minutes

NIOSH PDF: Using Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose in the Workplace: Information for Employers and Workers

The National Safety Council (NSC) also has issued
guidelines for employers considering stocking their workplaces with the kits. “Any opioid user—which may include employees, visitors or passersby—is at risk for an opioid overdose,” NSC said.

It stresses that employers should
take certain steps before acquiring the kits and starting a workplace program. Policies and procedures should be developed by a core group of representatives, including human resources, safety and health professional employees, and a legal representative, NSC recommends.

Issues the council says employers should consider include liability and other legal issues; recording and documenting trainings and incidents while protecting the privacy of the victims; and
defining clear roles and responsibilities for potential responders to a suspected opioid overdose.

One of the concerns arising from the prospect of initiating a naloxone program is the issue of potential legal liability.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of naloxone access law, although how those laws are written can vary widely.