State Health Dept., Business Leaders Join Together to Fight Opioid Epidemic

September 18, 2018 04:51 PM

The fight against the opioid epidemic is taking another step in Minnesota.


The State Department of Health announced on Tuesday it's launching a new partnership with business leaders. It's in an effort to reach more people affected by opioid abuse.

The Minnesota Business Partnership, which represents about 400,000 employees statewide, is joining the health department in urging a change in the way substance use disorders are talked about in the workplace. They have developed an Opioid Epidemic Response Tool Kit.

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In it outlines five steps to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction. It calls for an emphasis on recovery, providing employees information about safe storing and disposal of medications, education on naloxone use and encouraging employees to use their health insurance for help with addiction and mental health problems.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck public health crisis in our state and nation,” said Jan Malcolm, the health commissioner. “To have employers joining in proactive efforts to better educate and connect people to resources is just so very important.”

Malcolm said 401 people died in Minnesota from an opioid overdose in 2017. The Health Department and the business community hope by providing more outreach at work, where most people spend the majority of their time, they can save lives.

“We’ve figured out at least a start,” said Charlie Weaver, the executive director of the Business Partnership. “I don’t think anybody today is saying this is a solution to this challenge, but it is a first step and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Weaver said the tool kits will now be distributed to employees throughout the state through e-mail, social media and in break rooms.


Callan Gray

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