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SAIF resources help employers protect workers and respond to opioid-related events

Resources include an online training on preventing work exposure, information for workers at high risk of exposure, and facts on Naloxone.

Oregon has the highest rates of drug addiction in the country, according to the December 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And in 2020, 388 US workplace deaths were due to unintentional overdose. 

Opioid related exposures, illnesses, and deaths are a growing concern for employers of all kinds. To support them, SAIF created a new suite of resources for employers and workers to promote safe work practices around potential fentanyl exposures. 

Drug use is a growing issue in communities across the state and this created a dire need for information to support employers who are trying to protect workers from exposure to fentanyl and other drugs,” says Wendy Boughton, occupational safety and health nurse consultant at SAIF. 

The resources include an online training, Fentanyl: Preventing work exposure. This training and others can be found on SAIF’s new safety topic page, Fentanyl and other opioids. 

A common misconception is that exposure to fentanyl is confined to law enforcement or emergency responders, but teachers, security officers, tow truck drivers, counselors and social assistance workers, gas station workers, and electricians have all reported illnesses due to exposure.  

“It is truly a risk for anyone who works in or with the public,” says Boughton. 

The safety topic page also includes information on how to respond to an overdose given recent news that The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved over the counter doses of Naloxone (Narcan), the drug that reverses the effects of overdose.