A new study backs up a lifesaving approach to the opioid epidemic

From Vox:

A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that expanding access to naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote, may result in fewer overdose deaths — a lifesaving outcome as America deals with an opioid epidemic that’s now the deadliest drug overdose crisis in US history.

The study, from researchers at William Paterson University and the RAND Corporation, compared the effects of three different policy changes: directly giving pharmacists explicit permission to distribute naloxone, indirectly giving pharmacists the ability to dispense naloxone, and providing other legal protections (besides the first two changes) for naloxone distribution. It then compared states that enacted the policy changes to those that didn’t.

The researchers found states that directly allowed pharmacists to distribute naloxone saw reductions in opioid deaths as high as 34 percent on average compared to states that didn’t enact such changes. But there weren’t significant reductions in opioid deaths in states that indirectly gave pharmacists the ability to dispense naloxone or in states that only provided other legal protections for naloxone use.

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