Editor’s Note: A compound crisis
Because it’s one of the National Safety Council’s areas of focus and has such a profound effect on the workforce, the opioid crisis is an issue Safety+Health keeps a close eye on. It’s been disheartening to learn that yet another consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the wrench that lockdowns and isolation have thrown into the lives of people seeking and receiving treatment for opioid misuse.
In his article this month, Associate Editor Barry Bottino explores the issue. He talks with Jon O’Brien, executive director of the Keystone Contractors Association, who years earlier spearheaded an ongoing effort to encourage Pennsylvania construction workers who are struggling with opioids to reach out. O’Brien discusses how “2020 came along and screwed everything up,” and what KCA has done to respond. Barry also taps into the expertise of Rachael Cooper, NSC’s former senior program manager, substance use and harm prevention, about what employers can do to promote the safe use of opioids and encourage people who need help to find treatment – even during a pandemic.
One of NSC’s free resources is the Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit, containing “sample policies, fact sheets, presentations, 5-minute safety talks, posters, white papers, reports, videos and more.”
And as I write this, the S+H team is coordinating with Rachael and other experts at NSC on a special edition of our sister publication, Family Safety & Health. Written for workers and their loved ones, the special edition will focus on mental health and substance use, how those factor into overall wellness, and why it’s OK to ask for help. If you’re interested, you can find out more at familysafetyandhealth.com.