thesynergist | COMMUNITY

On Sept. 20, AIHA submitted comments on protecting first responders and related workers from occupational exposure to opioids and synthetic analogues to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The commission, which is chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, was established in March by executive order to study ways to address drug abuse, addiction, and the opioid crisis in the U.S. AIHA’s comments identify four areas that the association urges the commission to address in its final report to President Trump.
First, AIHA encourages the commission to identify all workers, including volunteers, who may be exposed and the specific activities that place them at risk for exposure. This group of workers includes law enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration agents, emergency medical technicians, crime lab analysts, and others. The commission should also identify the work practices and personal protective equipment that have been successfully adopted by the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and may have equal application when handling opioids and synthetics by first responders and related workers. AIHA also recommends that the commission develop specific practical guidance and training to control exposure, and provide targeted and widespread dissemination of the training and guidance to all potentially exposed workers.
“There are a great variety of tasks that may cause [first responders and others] to come into contact with opioids and synthetics, through several routes of exposure,” AIHA’s letter (PDF) reads. “As a result, the greatest challenges lie in the development of guidance and practical tools and training . . . specific to each person who may be exposed.”
AIHA is working with state legislators and other policymakers to provide assistance to those in the field who confront challenges related to the opioid crisis.
Members who are interested in working with state or federal policymakers on protecting first responders and others from exposure to opioids and synthetic analogues should contact Mark Ames, AIHA’s Director of Government Relations, via email or (703) 846-0730.

AIHA Urges White House Commission to Protect Workers from Exposure to Opioids
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