Employers, Heath Dept create 'opioid tool kit'

It aims to open dialogue about addiction in the workplace

Sloane Martin
September 19, 2018 - 4:42 am

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The State Department of Health is teaming up with the Minnesota's largest employers to help combat the opioid crisis.

More than 400 opioid-related deaths were reported in 2017. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin, continues to be especially deadly. According to the DOH: "The number of synthetic opioid-involved deaths increased 74 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the preliminary data. This increase is largely due to fentanyl-involved deaths; of the 172 deaths that involved synthetic opioids, 156 (91 percent) had fentanyl listed as contributing to the death on the death certificate."

Together, the department and businesses have created an "employer tool kit" laying out what actions companies can take to prevent and address addiction in the workplace.  

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says it will allow companies to open up a dialogue because opioid addiction affects every race, age, gender, geographical area, and socioeconomic bracket.

"This is a proactive strategy to to use the tools and the influence of the business community to help educate employees, their families, and the general public on what we can all do to help combat this serious public health crisis that is the opioid epidemic," she said.

The tool kit includes customizable social media messages, emails and flyers workplaces can tailor to their employees.