OPTIC Policy Profiles

How experts rate the effectiveness of state policies related to naloxone distribution and quality of OUD treatment

Expanding harm reduction interventions, like naloxone, and engaging individuals with opioid use disorder in care and services are priorities in the U.S. national strategy to address the opioid crisis. Beyond national efforts, many state policies have been implemented or proposed to facilitate naloxone distribution and to improve the quality of treatment. But it is not clear which policy components can successfully reduce opioid-related harms. Nor is it clear which policies are feasible to implement and whether they can reduce disparities in patient and population-level outcomes.

These Policy Profiles summarize what panels of experts said were the expected effects of specific types of policy within two broader domains:

  1. For naloxone access laws, experts rated effects on naloxone distribution through pharmacies, prevalence of opioid use disorder (OUD), rates of nonfatal opioid overdose, and opioid overdose mortality
  2. For OUD treatment policies, experts rated effects on OUD treatment engagement, retention in OUD treatment, OUD remission, and OUD overdose mortality.

The panels of experts also rated all policies on four decisionmaking criteria: acceptability to the public, feasibility of implementation, affordability from a societal perspective, and equitability in health effects.

Below are summaries of the expert ratings for policies related to naloxone distribution and quality of OUD treatment.