Category: Opioids

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

Work-Related Low-Back Injury and Increased Rate of Death

Do certain types of work-related disabilities lead to an increased rate of death? This question has not been well studied. Recently published research, “Increased overall and cause‐specific mortality associated with disability among workers’ compensation claimants with low back injuries,” examined the issue. [1]  The study found that those with a lost-time disabling low-back workers’ compensation Read More >

Posted on by Chris Martin, MD, MSc, and Stephen Bertke, PhD2 Comments

Drug Overdose in the Workplace and the Role of Opioids

The drug overdose epidemic continues to afflict our country. Nationally, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 [i] involving opioids (such as fentanyl, heroin and hydrocodone), stimulants (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and alcohol.[ii] Nearly 70% of these deaths involved an opioid.[ii] Recent data show that drug overdoses at work are increasing. Read More >

Posted on by Dawn Castillo, MPH; Michael Fiore, MS; Emily Sparer-Fine, ScD; Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Steve Wurzelbacher, PhD5 Comments

The Role of Veterinarians in the Opioid Crisis

More than 399,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription and illicit opioids from 1999-2017.[i] There are many efforts to educate physicians and dentists about their roles and responsibilities in addressing this national crisis. But what about veterinarians? Animals, like humans, may receive opioids for pain. Veterinarians and veterinary clinics can be registered with the US Read More >

Posted on by Lee S. Newman, MD, MA; Liliana Tenney, MPH; and Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA3 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

Workers Using Prescription Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines Can Face Safety and Health Risks

See the 2021 fact sheet Prescription Opioid and Benzodiazepine Medications and Occupational Safety and Health: Information for Employers and Healthcare Providers. The opioid crisis that faces the nation has a great impact on workers and NIOSH has a comprehensive program to address opioids in workers. One issue of concern is workers who use prescription opioids Read More >

Posted on by Sudha P. Pandalai, MD, PhD, and Paul A. Schulte, PhD1 Comment

Labor Day Message from NIOSH Director, John Howard, MD

More than just a “day off,” Labor Day provides us a moment to pause and reflect on the efforts and sacrifice all men and women across the nation have worked through to keep this country moving, day and night, contributing to the economic and material well-being of its inhabitants. NIOSH’s mission has been and will Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD2 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

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, MD41 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