DES MOINES – The National Safety Council (NCS) brought its national tour of the opioid epidemic exhibit, “Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis,” to Houston, Texas, in conjunction with the NCS Congress and Expo, the world’s largest annual safety conference. Speaking at the memorial’s unveiling were Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO; U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who lost a sister to an opioid overdose; Shelley Brown, regional safety manager with AECOM; and Rex Butler, an EHS professional who lost a brother to an opioid overdose.
Butler, CIPCO’s Manager of Environmental and Safety, who participated in the event, experienced the first-hand tragic impacts of opioid abuse through the loss of his brother to an unintentional overdose in 2006 while treating pain for a workplace injury.
“No family should experience this type of loss,” said Butler. “If my work to educate individuals on the importance of reducing the use of opioid pain killers can save one individual, then I will have prevented unnecessary suffering for a family.”
The Iowa Department of Public Health’s recent report on opioid deaths in Iowa indicates a downturn in 2018 deaths related to the drugs after a decade of spikes. Education plays a critical role in eliminating these preventable deaths in Iowa and across the country.
NCS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating preventable deaths at work, in the home and across communities. Their “Prescribed to Death” exhibit includes a memorial wall made of thousands of small white pills – each carved with a human face to represent those lost to prescription opioid overdose in 2015.
For more information on the NCS event, go to www.nsc.org/in-the-newsroom/nsc-brings-opioid-memorial-to-houston-as-part-of-nationwide-tour. For more information on Butler’s role as a survivor advocate, go to www.cipco.net/content/common-grounds-oct-2018#Advocate.
CIPCO is a generation and transmission electric cooperative built by member cooperatives and the communities they serve. With a balanced, 24/7 energy portfolio, CIPCO is committed to providing cost-effective, clean, safe and reliable energy. CIPCO and its 13 members serve more than 300,000 Iowans in 58 Iowa counties. CIPCO’s principal place of business is Des Moines, with locations in Cedar Rapids, Creston and Wilton. For more information, visit www.cipco.net.