Oregon Bio member Skanska in Oregon and Southwest Washington has teamed up with SafeBuild Alliance and with many local construction companies, the Multnomah County’s health division and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to roll out “Reverse Overdose Oregon.” OHA’s campaign launched November 18 at Skanska’s offices as part of a statewide business-to-business effort to address the opioid epidemic through direct, comprehensive interventions.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced its new project to support Oregon employers in adopting opioid overdose response programs as part of their standard workplace safety protocols. Through Reverse Overdose Oregon, employers are connected to training and tools to prepare staff to recognize an opioid overdose and administer naloxone via a non-invasive nasal spray. Naloxone is a life-saving medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
The Oregon Health Authority held a news conference on Nov. 18, featuring OHA’s medical director and Steve Clem, LEED AP, Senior Vice President of Project Planning Services and Sustainability at Skanska. The news conference was streamed live and can be found on the OHA’s Facebook page. The news release can be found here.
“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 AEDs. 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. Together, we can tackle this critical challenge in our communities.”
Dr. Hargunani noted that OHA is distributing some 8,000 kits to business around the state of Oregon as part of this campaign.
SafeBuild Alliance and Skanska collaborated over the past several months – along with many fellow construction firms and subcontractors – to host training events on how to use the overdose reversal drug naloxone. This is well aligned with SafeBuild Alliance’s mission of zero workplace injuries through collaboration. Since large construction sites have hundreds of people working on them, SafeBuild and Skanska have brought firms working in the region together for “Train the Trainer” workshops. This model has allowed information about how to use naloxone to get to more workers on more jobsites across the state.
“We at Skanska are joining with SafeBuild Alliance, our peers, partners and OHA in making a difference in the business sector to address opioid overdosing using reversal strategies,” says Skanska’s Clem.
“A core Skanska value is care for life. This includes caring for our community. And, we recognize this isn’t just a problem in the construction industry, this is society wide,” adds Clem.
Clem refers to the newly published study citing that out of all the professions, construction workers are most likely to misuse opioids. “This study points to the need for programs to prevent drug-related harm among workers in high-risk industry,” said Karen Blythe, executive director of SafeBuild Alliance.