Evaluation of Potential Occupational Exposures to Opioid Drugs During a Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services Response
The now well-known increase in the illegal distribution and use of many opioid drugs has led to a greatly heightened risk of opioid exposure for emergency response personnel. NIOSH’s Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHEP), which investigates potential and known workplace hazards to aid in preventing occupational disease or injury, recently received a request to evaluate one such incident. HHEP findings were published on April 20, 2018 in the above Interim Report. (To view a summary of this report, view the following NES blog: Opioid Exposure Endangering Emergency Responders.)
This CDC/NIOSH webpage provides an assembly of resources from the White House, CDC, NIOSH, and elsewhere for use by first responders in staying protected from exposure to hazardous opioids.
Safety Recommendations for First Responders:
The increased prevalence of synthetic opioids in the illicit drug market means that first responders need to understand how to protect themselves from exposure in the field. Law enforcement, fire, rescue, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel must balance safety with mobility and efficiency when responding to scenes where the presence of opioids is suspected.
DEA places opioid-related substances that are not currently listed in the controlled Substance Act are now scheduled as a schedule 1 controlled substance.
NIOSH recommendations for protecting emergency responders to opioid exposure.
The opioid crisis has real dangers to emergency responders, according to an expert-panel presentation convened in Las Vegas at EMS World Expo 2017.
This is the first report using toxicologic and death scene evidence across multiple states to characterize opioid overdose deaths.
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