Oregon Health Authority Sends 8,000 Businesses Kit To Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths

Nov 19, 2019
Originally published on November 18, 2019 3:07 pm

The Oregon Health Authority is sending out kits to 8,000 businesses across the state with the goal of reducing opioid overdoses at work.

On average, five Oregonians die every week from an opioid overdose.

The Oregon Health Authority now wants employers to train staff to administer the opioid inhibitor, naloxone, just like they’re trained to perform CPR or attach a defibrillator.

“We know that many opioid overdoses happen in public spaces and at workplaces, and employers have a powerful role to play in helping save lives and turn the tide of this epidemic,” said Dr. Dana Hargunani, OHA Chief Medical Director.

“Most workplaces are already equipped with fire extinguishers and [automated external defibrilators]," Hargunani said. "We hope this pilot project will inspire more employers to build life-saving naloxone into the way they prepare for emergencies and create safe spaces for employees and customers alike.”

Steve Clem trained construction workers for Skanska in Portland.

“It’s not that complex but I think a lot of it is getting over the stigma of seeing someone in crisis and not knowing why they’re in crisis – and also the feeling of you could do something to cause further harm,” Clem said. 

Clem said they're taught that naloxone nasal spray is unlikely to harm anyone, even if they’re not on opioids.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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