Opioid abuse and overdose deaths continues to be a major public health crisis in Maryland and across the nation. But there are at least some encouraging signs in this nationwide fight.
A new study shows that the recent increase in access to Naloxone correlates to a decrease in overdose deaths. Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help prevent overdoses by blocking opioid receptor sites, reversing the toxic effects of the overdose.
As reported on Route Fifty:
A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that these laws have in fact made an impact. Using data for the period from 1999 to 2014 available in the National Vital Statistics System multiple cause-of-death mortality files, researchers found that adoption of these naloxone access laws has been associated with up to an 11 percent reduction in opioid-involved deaths.
Results of the research suggest that perhaps that the most important thing a state can do with its Naloxone-related legislation is to remove any criminal liability associated with possessing the overdose-antagonist drug.
Eleven states adopted such measures within the period studied. In those 11 states, these laws are associated with a 13 percent reduction in opioid-related overdose deaths, whereas the effect of naloxone access laws in states without these criminal liability provisions is considerably smaller—an effect that is “statistically indistinguishable from zero,” according to the report.