AUSTIN, Texas – The International Order of the Golden Rule has released a 44-page booklet titled, “Opioid Epidemic: How Funeral Directors Can Respond.” The booklet was written specifically for funeral professionals as they face special safety hazards and grieving situations when serving those who die from drug overdoses.
The booklet addresses safety and social issues that funeral professionals must be prepared to handle.
The rise of opioid overdose deaths is a phenomenon that is affecting nearly every demographic segment throughout the United States and Canada. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. alone opioids (including prescription drugs and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involved an opioid prescribed by a physician.
The booklet is based on information from an OGR webinar presented in March by OGR President Charles Castiglia of Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home in Hamburg, New York. Castiglia established funeral home procedures for dealing with opioid overdose deaths when the number of cases he served grew from zero to an average of one or two per week.
“In addition to addressing unique health and safety issues connected to opioid overdose deaths, funeral professionals must recognize and be ready to respond to intense or unusual symptoms of grief exhibited by loved ones,” Catiglia said.
Copies of “Opioid Crisis: How Funeral Directors Can Respond” are available through OGR at www.ogr.org/opioid. A Kindle version is also available through Amazon.
Posted Aug. 2, 2017