Overdose deaths are on the rise

Recently, provisional data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 93,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2020, a shocking 30% increase from 2019. In North Dakota, 123 people died from overdose. People who die from drug overdose cross a wide range of economic, age and cultures with an increasing number of young people affected. Drug abuse happens at home and on the job.

The report indicated that inappropriate use of opioids was behind most of the deaths. Experts note that the stresses of the pandemic have led to an increase in drug consumption and less access to life-saving treatments for substance use disorders. The CDC also reports that the three industries with the highest numbers of drug overdoses are Construction, Transportation & Warehousing and Healthcare.

Workplaces can help prevent overdoses in a number of ways.

  1. Identify and remove workplace dangers
  2. Protect workers who do physically demanding jobs from getting injured
  3. Educate yourself on how you can support a worker with a substance use disorder
  4. Educate employees on risks for substance use and overdose prevention
  5. Consider implementing a program to make naloxone available in the workplace in the event of an opioid overdose.
  6. Enroll managers in NDSC’s Reasonable Suspicion training in order to learn what to look for and actions to take if someone appears to be under the influence in the workplace.

Learn more about how NDSC training can help your employees stay well, and your workplace stay safe at Reasonable Suspicion – ND Safety Council (ndsc.org).