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

Daniel Rees (), Joseph J. Sabia, Laura M. Argys, Joshua Latshaw and Dhaval Dave ()

No 23171, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

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.

JEL-codes: H0 I1 K0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-law
Date: 2017-02
Note: CH HC HE LE PE
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