From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short
From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - October 7, 2022
As the construction industry continues to rank at the top of opioid overdoses, DCA’s members are stepping up to create solutions. I am really pleased to be a part of an organization whose company owners and leaders are willing to take action to face these issues head-on. This week, DCA had the diverse representation of its membership meeting to hear what Delaware is doing on this issue and what more might be done.
We’ve gotten to the point where we all recognize the challenge is real and its impact on our industry is significant. Within the past six months a member had to replace a porta-potty onsite due to the urinal being clogged with needles. Sadly, within the past year, there have been two overdoses at two different projects. The highway contractors, specialty contractors, and construction management members, both union and merit, attending the meeting were very open to the discussion and shared the nuances of how the issue plays out in our field to the Delaware Health and Human Services consultant we have been partnering with for over two years now. It didn’t surprise me, but it was good to hear the efforts our members make to help their employees facing addiction. The consultant extended its offer to help in educating the workforce in any way that supports our members.
In addition to the owner members who joined us for this week’s meeting, we’ve been really happy to hear that several of our member companies now have Naloxone, the opioid inhibitor, on the jobsite. In fact, the consultant left our meeting to go to a health fair for Bancroft Construction who had an onsite education and training session earlier this year. Many of you may know this but for those that do not, Delawareans can obtain Naloxone without a prescription from most pharmacies.
Opioid addiction in construction is a complex and challenging problem but, through DCA’s efforts, in conjunction with our partners, we are committed to being a part of the solution. On this point, legislative and regulatory efforts supporting Delaware employers was discussed during the meeting as well. We have been active with Delaware’s General Assembly in discussing what public policy steps would support employers. Some possible legislative initiatives DHSS is considering were discussed and DCA continues to offer its expertise as a resource. Jamie Chambers is continuing to schedule Tool Box talks on Opioid Addiction in construction and Naloxone training in ways that work for our members. If you are interested in holding a Tool Box Talk or just want more information, please feel free to contact Jamie. Also, information regarding opioid statistics, state resources, and Naloxone can be found at the DHSS Helpisherede.com.