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

Start Page



In an effort to address the opioid epidemic, a majority of states recently passed some version of a Good Samaritan law (GSL) and/or a naloxone access law (NAL). Good Samaritan laws provide immunity from prosecution for drug possession to anyone who seeks medical assistance in the event of a drug overdose; NALs allow laypersons to administer naloxone, which temporarily counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose. Using data from the National Vital Statistics System multiple-cause-of-death mortality files for 1999–2014, this study is the first to examine the effects of these laws on overdose deaths involving opioids. The estimated effects of GSLs on opioid-related mortality are consistently negative but not statistically significant. Adoption of an NAL is associated with a statistically significant 9–10 percent reduction in opioid-related mortality, although the negative association between NALs and opioid-related mortality appears to be driven by early adopters—states that passed legislation before 2011.

Full text not available in ChicagoUnbound.