Drug overdose deaths topped 100,000 during the pandemic, leading the National Safety Council (NSC) to turn this statistic into an “aggressive wake-up call” to motivate employers to take action for the health and safety of their workers.
The NSC identified the employer’s role as a universal gap in addressing misuse of drugs, with 75% of employers being directly impacted, according to surveys conducted by the organization.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provisional data showed drug overdose deaths exceeded 100,000 – an average of 235 lives per day – between April 2020 and April 2021, according to an NSC news release.
Drug overdoses have been viewed in the U.S. as a “tragic but unavoidable reality,” the NSC states, but that isn’t the case and lives can be saved.
“We must all do our part if we are to reverse this deadly trend, and that includes all members of our communities, with a special call on employers,” Jenny Burke, NSC senior director, said in the news release.
Of the 75% of employers directly impacted by drug overdose deaths, only 17% feel very confident they can address the problem effectively.
For the rest, the NSC has developed several resources, including an employer toolkit and an eLearning course, to help supervisors and safety pros recognize and respond to impairment in the workplace.
The training covers:
- the importance of recognizing and responding to impairment
- supervisor responsibilities when recognizing impairment
- common causes of impairment
- common signs and symptoms of impairment
- the NSC original six steps to respond to potential impairment
- human resources involvement
- prevention, and
- laws and regulations.
The NSC also released a comprehensive National Plan to Address Opioid Misuse, in collaboration with more than 60 organizations and companies.
This plan takes into account the many factors involved in the lifecycle of addiction, offering unique recommendations for employers addressing opioid misuse.
For more information on addressing impairment in the workplace, click here.