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Brookline Department Of Public Health & Human Services Urges Participation In Harm-Reduction Effort

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On May 23, 2024, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a new report linking the aftermath of work-related injuries to opioid-related overdose deaths. According to the report, working-age Massachusetts residents who died between 2011 and 2020 were 35 percent more likely to have died of an opioid-related overdose if they had been previously injured at work.

The data reveal that injured workers who died from an opioid-related overdose were more likely to be male, between 25-44 years old, Hispanic, US-born, and have jobs in construction and extraction, as well as in food preparation and serving, compared with those who died of causes unrelated to substance use. The percent of injured workers who died from opioid-related overdoses in 2011-2020 by occupation include:

  • 28 percent – construction, extraction;
  • 11 percent – transportation, material moving;
  • 7 percent – food preparation, serving related;
  • 7 percent – production;
  • 6 percent – building and grounds cleaning, maintenance.

Back sprains and strains were the most commonly recorded injury types among those who experienced fatal opioid-related overdoses. The MDPH press release can be accessed here.

Occupational injury can occur in any field. We now know that people who experience work-related injuries are at increased risk of developing substance use disorders and suffering overdose deaths. With this knowledge, it is critical that we continue to work to eliminate stigma and provide services and support to our workers, especially those most at risk for opioid overdose.

The Brookline Department of Public Health and Human Services welcomes all residents and businesses to participate in Project Citizens Access Naloxone (Project CAN), a harm-reduction effort designed to educate the public about Naloxone and widely distribute the life-saving medication throughout our community. Naloxone is a safe, effective, easy to use medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.

Project CAN harm reduction kits include:

  • Two doses of intranasal Naloxone;
  • A magnet with visual four-step instructions for how to respond to an opioid overdose and administer Naloxone;
  • A CPR face shield for safely providing rescue breaths;
  • Fentanyl test strips;
  • Instructions in English and Spanish for how to utilize test strips;
  • A card to contact the Massachusetts Overdose Prevention Helpline;
  • A Brookline Department of Public Health and Human Services card with a QR code link to a video demonstrating how to administer Naloxone in response to an opioid overdose.

Harm reduction kits are available for pick-up at the Health Department, no questions asked, on 11 Pierce Street in Brookline Village, Monday–Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Brief training is available upon request at time of pick up.

Community group trainings for 10-30 people are also available upon request. Anyone can safely administer Naloxone in an opioid overdose emergency, and we are grateful to be able to share this life-saving medication and training with the residents and businesses of Brookline.

Please contact the Public Health Nurse, Elizabeth Bennett at 617-730-2320 with any questions or requests for trainings.