New NIOSH Resource Addresses Workplace Naloxone Programs

NIOSH Publishes Fact Sheet on Workplace Naloxone Programs

The new NIOSH document provides a series of steps for employers to consider when deciding whether their workplace should make the overdose reversal medication available on site in the event of an overdose.

NIOSH has announced a new resource for employers and workers dealing with the opioid crisis, a fact sheet titled Using Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose in the Workplace: Information for Employers and Workers. The resource addresses workplaces that are considering implementing a naloxone program to prevent overdose deaths in the workplace.

Naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is a drug that can reverse many of the potentially fatal side effects of an opioid overdose. As the opioid epidemic continues, workplaces are facing the potential risks of workplace overdose for workers, clients, customers, and visitors.

On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to 2017 data from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. Overdoses are increasingly common in the workplace, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that overdose deaths at work from non-medical use of drugs and alcohol increased by at least 38 percent annually between 2013 and 2016.

"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 aid in the event of an opioid overdose while waiting on first responders to arrive on the scene," said NIOSH Director Dr .John Howard. "NIOSH developed this fact sheet to help employers decide if having naloxone available is right for their workplace."

The fact sheet provides a series of steps for employers to consider when deciding whether their workplace should make the overdose reversal medication available on-site in the event of an overdose. It also contains an overview of opioids and naloxone and gives employers and workers information on how to implement and maintain a workplace naloxone program. The fact sheet is part of NIOSH's broader framework to fight the opioid crisis from an occupational perspective.

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