The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) will discuss the opioid exposure crisis threatening the safety of the nation’s first responders Tuesday at the AIHce EXP 2018 conference.

Speakers will include first responders, occupational safety experts, and a White House drug control official. Participants will discuss the risks of opioid exposure and the critical steps necessary to adequately train and protect first responders on the job. AIHA warns that every day a wide range of first responders are in danger of potentially fatal opioid exposures, including firefighters, EMTs, nurses, doctors, law enforcement, and crime lab technicians.

There will be a general session panel discussion Tuesday morning entitled “Mitigating Opioid Exposure Risks to First Responders: What’s Been Done, What’s Left to Do & How You Can Help.”

Opioid addiction is causing an unprecedented public health crisis that requires the collaboration and action of our leading national organizations dedicated to countering addiction. However, we must also consider the potential for our nation’s first responders, including law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, and crime lab analysts, to be exposed to opioids while on the job.

This moderated roundtable discussion will raise awareness about the drugs, addiction crisis, and precautions first responders must take when responding to medical emergencies and investigating illicit drug activity. Session panelists will provide information on the work that has been done by nonprofit organizations, Federal, and State governments, and how industrial hygiene professionals can support the development and implementation of exposure controls and educational materials for first responders.

Professionals at the roundtable include: Steven E. Lacey, PhD, CIH, CSP – Moderator; Donna S. Heidel, CIH, FAIHA, AIHA board; Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel; Kemp Chester, Associate Director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy; and John Howard, MD, MPH, JD, LLM, MBA, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.