Working With Narcan on the Job
The opioid epidemic has shaken the country over the past five years, and New Hampshire and Vermont have been among the states affected most deeply. Trumbull-Nelson Construction Co. Executive Vice President Ronald Bauer said the company hasn’t seen a big impact from the epidemic.
Nevertheless, in 2016, after Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center reached out to the company, Trumbull-Nelson began stocking Narcan on its job sites and providing training for supervisors to learn how to use the opioid overdose reversal drug.
“We send all our superintendents to learn how to use this stuff and how to recognize symptoms,” said Larry Ufford, Trumbull-Nelson’s president.
According to a calculator from the National Safety Council, which uses data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a construction firm in New Hampshire or Vermont with 100 employees can expect to spend $46,237 on costs related to substance abuse, including lost time, job turnover and health care costs.
The National Safety Council estimates that 15 percent of employees in the construction, entertainment and food service industries experience substance use disorders, about double the rate compared with the general population. Prescription pain medication abuse also is two to three times higher in the construction industry.
Trumbull-Nelson does drug screening for prospective employees, but Ufford said he doesn’t believe this affects the firm’s ability to hire people. Criminal and drug screenings are particularly important when Trumbull-Nelson is working in certain environments.
“Particularly when we go into an environment that’s sensitive, like a school, we do background checks to make sure the right people are on those jobs,” Ufford said.
— Kelly Burch