Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined NSC President and CEO, Deborah Hersman, for a press unveiling of the Prescribed to Death opioid memorial on Monday at the National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Houston. The memorial has been touring the country since last November, stopping in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Buffalo, N.Y., Fayetteville Ark., and Washington, D.C., where it sat on the South Lawn of the White House. The centerpiece of the memorial is a wall of 22,000 small white “pills” – each carved with a human face to represent the people who fatally overdosed on prescribed opioids in 2015.
Opioid misuse is often a hidden workplace issue – 70% of employers NSC surveyed said they’ve been directly impacted by prescription drug misuse among employees. In the survey, conducted last year, NSC found that one in four Americans have a personal connection to the ongoing opioid epidemic, having either overcome addiction to prescription pain medication or known someone who has become addicted, overdosed or died from an overdose.
Sen. Cruz discussed the opioid crisis in Texas and what Congress needs to do to save lives. In addition to Sen. Cruz, safety professional Rex Butler will share the story of his brother, Bill, who accidentally overdosed on opioids he was taking to treat a workplace injury. Bill is represented on the wall.
The Prescribed to Death memorial is free and open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors do not need to be registered for the NSC Congress & Expo.