Opioids: Contributing to Both Health and Death

About the Course:
Opioids are pain relievers administered through prescriptions. When someone takes too many opioids or reaches a tolerance threshold, an overdose occurs. With the increase of opioid deaths in the United States, it is imperative that the death-care industry recognizes and respects the hidden dangers. The funeral arrangements, visitation, and funeral can be complicated because of the circumstances surrounding the death. Opioids can affect the vessels and tissues of the body and cause embalming issues for embalmers. Funeral directors and embalmers need to be aware of safety procedures before embalming and to incorporate strict personal protective equipment. There are different embalming techniques for embalming an individual who was on opioids at the time of death as well as those who have overdosed on opioids. This course will also describe strategies to help combat overdoses in the funeral home.
Learning Objectives
  • Explain what an opioid is and why opioid use is turning into an epidemic.
  • Identify active steps that the medical community is incorporating to combat the epidemic.
  • Identify the dangers embalmers face with opioids.
  • Actively adapt personal protective procedures when dealing with the opiate dependent.
  • Explain the proper procedures when removing the deceased and clothing before embalming.
  • Identify how opioids affect the body and how this affects the embalming process.
  • Discuss how opioids affect the brain, including how naloxone combats the drug.
  • Formulate a plan for naloxone administration at the funeral home.
  • Adapt techniques to ensure safety for funeral home staff and visitors.