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With a Little Help from My Friends: The Effects of Naloxone Access and Good Samaritan Laws on Opioid-Related Deaths

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel I. Rees
  • Joseph J. Sabia
  • Laura M. Argys
  • Joshua Latshaw
  • Dhaval Dave

In an effort to address the opioid epidemic, a majority of states have recently passed some version of a Naloxone Access Law (NAL) and/or a Good Samaritan Law (GSL). NALs allow lay persons to administer naloxone, which temporarily counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose; GSLs provide immunity from prosecution for drug possession to anyone who seeks medical assistance in the event of a drug overdose. This study is the first to examine the effect of these laws on opioid-related deaths. Using data from the National Vital Statistics System multiple cause-of-death mortality files for the period 1999-2014, we find that the adoption of a NAL is associated with a 9 to 11 percent reduction in opioid-related deaths. The estimated effect of GLSs on opioid-related deaths is of comparable magnitude, but not statistically significant at conventional levels. Finally, we find that neither NALs nor GSLs increase the recreational use of prescription painkillers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23171.

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Date of creation: Feb 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23171
Note: CH HC HE LE PE
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  1. Alpert, Abby & Powell, David & Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, 2017. "Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes: Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opiods," Working Papers 1181, RAND Corporation.
  2. Abby Alpert & David Powell & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2017. "Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes: Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids," NBER Working Papers 23031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Card & Gordon B. Dahl, 2011. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 103-143.
  4. Cameron, A Colin & Trivedi, Pravin K, 1986. "Econometric Models Based on Count Data: Comparisons and Applications of Some Estimators and Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 29-53, January.
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