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Respond to Overdoses

Overdoses are on the rise — but you can take steps to keep your employees and customers safe. Creating an overdose response policy is a great first step toward becoming a Recovery Supportive workplace.

Learn about the DART Program (Drug Addiction and Recovery Teams)

  • Prevent opioid overdose through personal connection, harm reduction, referral and family support.

  • Teams are made up of trained recovery coaches, harm reduction specialists and trained police officers

  • Naloxone and safety planning; recovery and peer mental health coaching; helping families support their loved ones; bereavement support; guidance to essential services

  • Learn more here or call 413-588-2335

Create an overdose response policy

Set clear guidelines so employees know how to respond if someone has an overdose in the workplace. Make sure your policy covers:

Post the policy where employees can easily find it — for example, in the breakroom or near the bathroom. Be sure to include the policy in regular workplace safety trainings and in onboarding for new hires.

When you share the policy with your employees, note that it isn’t meant to single anyone out or imply that your employees are using substances. Having an overdose response policy is simply a way to address the issue of substance use in the workplace proactively.


Get started with sample policies

Every workplace is different, so you can work with your team to decide what makes sense for your employees and customers. For examples to help you get started, check out Sample Policies and Procedures.


Keep Narcan on site

As part of your overdose response policy, consider keeping Narcan on site. Narcan (also called naloxone) is a fast-acting medicine that can quickly stop an opioid overdose. It’s easy to use, and you can get it at most pharmacies without a prescription.

Learn more about Narcan.

Before you get Narcan for your workplace:

  • Talk with your legal team about any liability concerns.

  • Ask your employees if they would be comfortable using Narcan, and offer regular trainings for those who are willing to help. Hampshire HOPE provides Narcan training to businesses in the Hampshire County area. Learn more about our Narcan training. Contact us to find out more. You can call at 413-587-1215.

  • Add information about Narcan to your overdose response policy — including rules for how employees should use Narcan in the workplace.

  • This Narcan Quick Start Guide has step-by-step directions on how to use Narcan. Post it where your employees can easily find it.

  • Respond to overdoses in restrooms.

  • Overdoses are more likely to happen in private spaces like restrooms. You can take steps to keep your restrooms safe:

    • Consider locking restrooms so that customers have to ask for the key or code. If your restroom has a keypad, change the code frequently.

    • Consider giving employees a master key to the restrooms in case of an emergency.

    • Create a policy that spells out if, when, and how you expect your employees to monitor restrooms, and how employees should respond if an emergency happens. 

    • If you keep Narcan on site, keep it close to the restrooms.

    • If your restrooms have stalls, make sure employees can easily check underneath the stall doors to see if someone has passed out.

Learn more

For more information on how to respond to overdoses in the workplace, check out these helpful resources:

  • Tapestry Health provides Narcan training and access in Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. Learn more about Tapestry.

  • Learn to Cope, a nonprofit support network for people struggling with substance use, also provides Narcan and Narcan trainings in the Massachusetts area. Find out more about Learn to Cope.

Updated 1/23/22

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