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Lay responder naloxone access and Good Samaritan law compliance: postcard survey results from 20 Indiana counties
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    29625609
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5889562
  • Description:
    Background

    To reduce fatal drug overdoses, two approaches many states have followed is to pass laws expanding naloxone access and Good Samaritan protections for lay persons with high likelihood to respond to an opioid overdose. Most prior research has examined attitudes and knowledge among lay responders in large metropolitan areas who actively use illicit substances. The present study addresses current gaps in knowledge related to this issue through an analysis of data collected from a broader group of lay responders who received naloxone kits from 20 local health departments across Indiana.

    Methods

    Postcard surveys were included inside naloxone kits distributed in 20 Indiana counties, for which 217 returned cards indicated the person completing it was a lay responder. The survey captured demographic information and experiences with overdose, including the use of 911 and knowledge about Good Samaritan protections.

    Results

    Few respondents had administered naloxone before, but approximately one third had witnessed a prior overdose and the majority knew someone who had died from one. Those who knew someone who had overdosed were more likely to have obtained naloxone for someone other than themselves. Also, persons with knowledge of Good Samaritan protections or who had previously used naloxone were significantly more likely to have indicated calling 911 at the scene of a previously witnessed overdose. Primary reasons for not calling 911 included fear of the police and the person who overdosed waking up on their own.

    Conclusions

    Knowing someone who has had a fatal or non-fatal overdose appears to be a strong motivating factor for obtaining naloxone. Clarifying and strengthening Good Samaritan protections, educating lay persons about these protections, and working to improve police interactions with the public when they are called to an overdose scene are likely to improve implementation and outcomes of naloxone distribution and opioid-related Good Samaritan laws.

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