Category: Drugs

WCI Coverage of Cannabis Costs for Work-related Health Conditions

  The use of cannabis for treatment of work-related health conditions and coverage under workers’ compensation are emerging occupational health and safety issues. Currently 36 states and the District of Columbia (DC) have laws that make cannabis available to consumers with qualifying medical conditions.[1] While the allowable medical conditions vary by state, they include cancer, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; Steven J. Wurzelbacher, PhD; and Jamie Osborne, MPH, CHES®Leave a comment

Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths in the Workplace

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. Overdose deaths involving opioids continue to be a serious health issue in the United States. A concerning increase in drug overdose deaths coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplaces are certainly not immune from this crisis. Read on for more information on opioids in the workplace and the importance of Read More >

Posted on by L. Casey Chosewood, MD MPH; J’ette Novakovich, PhD, MS, MA; and Jamie Osborne, MPH, CHES®1 Comment

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Opioid Overdose Epidemic: A Perfect Storm for Workers?

Introduction Before the pandemic took hold, the United States was already facing another public health crisis – alarming rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2018, 46,802 deaths were attributed to opioids, which accounted for 69% of all drug overdose deaths.1 Based on provisional data, an estimated 50,828 Americans died of opioid overdose in 2019 — Read More >

Posted on by Jamie Osborne, MPH, CHES®; L. Casey Chosewood, MD; and John Howard, MDLeave a comment

Cannabis and Work: The Need for More Research

Introduction Cannabis sativa has been used for a wide variety of industrial, medical, and non-medical uses for thousands of years, yet remains a source of controversy across the fields of medicine, law, and occupational safety1-5. Access to and consumption of cannabis have increased as a result of more favorable public attitudes and state access laws. Read More >

Posted on by Jamie Osborne, MPH, CHES®, and John Howard, MD5 Comments

Cannabis and Work: Implications, Impairment, and the Need for Further Research

  American workplaces are facing unprecedented challenges related to the rapidly evolving landscape of cannabis legalization and its increasing use among workers. Cannabis[1] is the most frequently used illicit drug (by Federal law) among Americans, with an estimated 43.5 million past-year users age 12 or older in 2018 (1). Nearly 18% of adults employed full-time, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; L. Casey Chosewood, MD; Lore Jackson-Lee, MPH; and Jamie Osborne, MPH, CHES®7 Comments

Suicide Risk for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians

A new study, “Suicides and deaths of undetermined intent among veterinary professionals from 2003 through 2014” sheds new light on the issue of suicide among veterinary professions. It is known that veterinarians in the United States and abroad have a higher suicide risk compared with the general population.[1-8] This new study confirms the increased rated of suicide Read More >

Posted on by Randall J. Nett, MD, MPH; Tracy Witte, PhD; Elizabeth G. Spitzer, MA; Nicole Edwards, MS; and Katherine A. Fowler, PhD9 Comments

Injured Workers More Likely to Die from Suicide or Opioid Overdose

Drug overdoses and suicides have been rising since 2000 and are major contributors to a recent decline in US life expectancy. The opioid crisis is largely to blame, with a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017.[1] Suicide rates in 2016 have increased 30% from 1999.[2] Case and Deaton have called these “deaths of despair.”[3] In Read More >

Posted on by Katie M. Applebaum, ScD; Abay Asfaw, PhD; Paul K. O’Leary, PhD; Andrew Busey, BS; Yorghos Tripodis, PhD; and Leslie I. Boden, PhD9 Comments

Law Enforcement Officers’ Health Effects from Exposure to Opioids: Two Case Investigations

There is uncertainty surrounding law enforcement officers’ exposure to and health effects from opioids encountered while at work protecting the public. Over the past several years, the media have reported instances of opioid exposures and health effects among first responders and other public service workers across the U.S.[i],[ii],[iii],[iv] These reports provide incomplete or uncorroborated information Read More >

Posted on by Sophia K. Chiu, MD, MPH3 Comments

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

The opioid overdose epidemic continues to claim lives across the country with a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017[i]. The crisis is taking an especially devastating toll on certain parts of the U.S. workforce. High rates of opioid overdose deaths have occurred in industries with high injury rates and physically demanding working conditions such as Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; Lauren Cimineri, PharmD, MPH; Tamekia Evans, MPH; L Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH; and Susan Afanuh, MA15 Comments

Fentanyls and the Safety of First Responders: Science and Recommendations

The severity of the opioid epidemic is well-documented. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that drug overdose deaths in the United States more than tripled from 1999 to 2015.[1] From 2015 to 2016, opioid overdose deaths increased by more than 20 percent—rising from 52,898 in 2016 to 64,070 deaths in Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD, and Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, MS, CIH2 Comments

Workers Memorial Day 2018: Statement from Dr. John Howard

Every year on April 28th, we observe Workers Memorial Day, remembering those workers who have been killed or injured on the job. This is also an opportunity to reflect on how we, as a federal research institute, and our partners in industry, labor, academia and the safety and health practice community, can contribute to making Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD2 Comments

Fentanyl Exposure Risks for Law Enforcement and Emergency Response Workers

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic drug that is similar to morphine and heroin, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl and its analogs, such as carfentanil, can pose a potential hazard to law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, and firefighters who could come into contact with these drugs through the course of their work Read More >

Posted on by Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, MS, CIH; G. Scott Dotson, PhD, CIH; and Deborah Hornback, MS 20 Comments

National Safety Month

It’s National Safety Month. Each June, the National Safety Council and its partners raise awareness on preventing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities.  This year’s theme is SafeForLife. Each week of June has a different focus area. In this joint blog from the Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD, and Kathy Lane 2 Comments

Workers Memorial Day Message 2016

  Each year we pause on April 28 for Workers Memorial Day to publicly remember the workers who died or suffered from exposures to hazards at work. While worker deaths in America are down, on average, even one death or one injury is still too many. To prevent injury, illness, and death in today’s workplaces, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD 6 Comments

The Opioid Overdose Epidemic and the Workplace

  Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released troubling statistics on the growing epidemic of drug and opioid overdose deaths in the United States.  The origins of this epidemic have been linked to prescription opioids.  While it is unknown how many drug and opioid overdose deaths are associated with workplace injuries and Read More >

Posted on by Dawn Castillo, MPH and John Howard, MD42 Comments

Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs

  May is National Oncology Nursing Month.  In honor of these nurses and all who work with hazardous drugs (many of which are used in the treatment of cancer) we are posting this blog on how to safely prepare, administer or otherwise handle these drugs. About 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to Read More >

Posted on by Thomas H. Connor, PhD 15 Comments

A NIOSH Role in Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

  *NCCI has released new data since the posting of this blog.  Recent workers’ compensation studies reveal controlled substances accounted for 29% of prescription drug costs in 2014.   Prescription drug abuse and overdoses are a major public health concern (Health, United States 2013).  The CDC reports that opioid overdose deaths in particular have quadrupled since 1999, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD and Steve Wurzelbacher, PhD, CPE, ARM 39 Comments