NSC Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division news Drugs

Is your workplace ready to respond to an opioid overdose?

Photo: interstid/iStockphoto

Itasca, IL — The National Safety Council is raising awareness of over-the-counter naloxone nasal spray for emergency treatment of opioid overdoses in the workplace.

The NSC Respond Ready Workplace program features information on the opioid crisis and the effectiveness of naloxone, and offers guidance on how employers and workers can properly administer the medication.

Data from NSC’s Injury Facts website shows that overdose deaths of all types accounted for nearly 9% of all workplace injury deaths in 2021. Overdose-related deaths in the workplace have climbed 536% since 2011.

In March, the Food and Drug Administration approved the naloxone nasal spray Narcan. The agency approved a second OTC spray, RiVive, in July. NIOSH says naloxone “can temporarily stop many of the life-threatening effects” of opioid overdoses and “help restore breathing and reverse the sedation and unconsciousness” common among overdose cases.

“The Respond Ready Workplace program is a pivotal step forward in reducing overdose deaths and protecting workers everywhere,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said. “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.”

NSC is among a group of organizations supporting bipartisan legislation introduced in the House on Sept. 12 that would direct OSHA to establish employer guidance on acquiring opioid overdose reversal medication and training workers on its use. A companion bill to the Workplace Overdose Reversal Kits (WORK) to Save Lives Act is expected to be introduced in the Senate.

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