To proactively address the opioid crisis, Shawmut has created a cross-functional opioid task force that provides resources for its employees and network members who may be effected by the epidemic. Chief of construction operations Michael Sanchez discusses Shawmut’s approach to the issue—including the distribution of Narcan to some of its larger job sites as part of an opioid toolkit pilot with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Excerpt from NBC 10 Boston
As people across the region continue to deal with the devastating opioid crisis, some employers are now making sure they have Narcan — a life saving treatment for opioid overdoses — on site.
"Five years ago, we didn't talk about it. I don't believe that five years ago, we even thought about it," said Michael Sanchez, chief of construction at Shawmut Design and Construction.
In the last year, Sanchez has helped the company organize a task force to examine the issue and come up with best ways to address it moving forward. This year, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that the opioid-related death rate for those working in construction and extraction was six times the average rate for all workers in the state between 2011-2015.
"The cases of overdose and addiction have grown so significantly, so quickly that you can't ignore it anymore," said Sanchez. "Rather than ignore it, I think you need to be proactive. It's here. We need to deal with it. We need to do what we can to protect our folks, protect our subcontractors."
While Shawmut has not documented any incidents of drug abuse at their sites in the state, Sanchez said they plan to expand their safety efforts moving forward.
"We'd love to solve it," he said of addiction. "But the first thing we can do is help to control it."