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NIOSH releases fact sheet to help employers combat opioid crisis

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has made available 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. Opioid misuse and overdose deaths are a public health crisis affecting many U.S. workplaces, including the construction industry.

According to 2017 data from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, about 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses. Workplaces increasingly are becoming places where overdoses are occurring—the Bureau of Labor Statistics found overdose deaths at work from nonmedical use of drugs and alcohol increased at least 38 percent annually between 2013 and 2016.

Naloxone is a drug that can reverse many of the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose. The NIOSH fact sheet offers a series of steps for an employer to consider when deciding whether his or her workplace should establish a naloxone program, making the overdose reversal medication available in the event an employee overdoses.

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