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

41 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2017

See all articles by Daniel I. Rees

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joseph J. Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Laura M. Argys

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics

Joshua Latshaw

San Diego State University

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Date Written: February 2017

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Rees, Daniel I. and Sabia, Joseph J. and Argys, Laura M. and Latshaw, Joshua and Dave, Dhaval, With a Little Help from My Friends: The Effects of Naloxone Access and Good Samaritan Laws on Opioid-Related Deaths (February 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23171. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2920389

Daniel I. Rees (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Joseph J. Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

Laura M. Argys

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States
303-556-3547 (Fax)

Joshua Latshaw

San Diego State University

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452-4705
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

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