Gilbane Addresses Rhode Island Opiod Crisis
Gilbane Building Company is equipping project sites in Rhode Island with opiod rescue kits following research showing a quarter of fatal drug overdoses in Massachusetts involved construction workers.
Naloxone Rescue Kits will be made available after the company's Rhode Island business unit entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team’s Medical Reserve Corp and its Naloxone and Overdose Prevention Education (NOPE-RI).
Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, reverses the effects of opioids, allowing an individual experiencing an overdose to breathe normally. Given early enough, along with other first aid tactics, Naloxone can reduce the morbidity and mortality related to opioid overdoses.
Instances of opioid overdose have reached epidemic levels in New England, as well as other parts of the country. In 40 states, including Rhode Island, opioid overdoses exceed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death among adults. The construction industry is disproportionately affected by this crisis.
A recent study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that construction workers accounted for more than 24 percent of opioid-related deaths and were six times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the average worker in the state.
Earlier this year, Gilbane personnel working in Rhode Island were trained by the RI Department of Health’s Overdose Prevention Education Director, Erin McDonough, in the administration and usage of Naloxone, as well as to recognize the signs and symptoms of a potential overdose. Today, job sites throughout the state are equipped with this life-saving medication.
Discussing the initiative, Dennis Mullen, safety director for Gilbane’s New England division, said:
"In addition to our non-negotiable safety protocols aimed at avoiding injuries all together, we are now focused on educating our teams on the risks associated with opioid prescription pain medications.
"Working to reduce the stigma of addiction and outfitting our first aid kits with Naloxone can help keep our employees, and those tradespeople who work on our job sites, alive if an overdose does occur on site."
Signatories to the MoU have agreed to implement a comprehensive program that will equip job sites with the necessary materials and training to successfully utilize opiod rescue kits. NOPE-RI have also agreed to provide protocols for treatment and storage of the medication, as well as the proper training and education to allow the program to be successful.