Who Receives Naloxone from Emergency Medical Services?

Characteristics of Calls and Recent Trends

Published in: Substance Abuse (2019). doi: 10.1080/08897077.2019.1640832

by Caroline Geiger, Rosanna Smart, Bradley D. Stein

Download Free Electronic Document

Key Takeaways

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Background

With the rapid rise in opioid overdose-related deaths, state policy makers have expanded policies to increase the use of naloxone by emergency medical services (EMS). However, little is known about changes in EMS naloxone administration in the context of continued worsening of the opioid crisis and efforts to increase use of naloxone. This study examines trends in patient demographics and EMS response characteristics over time and by county urbanicity.

Methods

We used data from the 2013-2016 National EMS Information System to examine trends in patient demographics and EMS response characteristics for 911-initiated incidents that resulted in EMS naloxone administration. We also assessed temporal, regional, and urban-rural variation in per capita rates of EMS naloxone administrations compared with per capita rates of opioid-related overdose deaths.

Results

From 2013 to 2016, naloxone administrations increasingly involved young adults and occurred in public settings. Particularly in urban counties, there were modest but significant increases in the percentage of individuals who refused subsequent treatment, were treated and released, and received multiple administrations of naloxone before and after arrival of EMS personnel. Over the 4-year period, EMS naloxone administrations per capita increased at a faster rate than opioid-related overdose deaths across urban, suburban, and rural counties. Although national rates of naloxone administration were consistently higher in suburban counties, these trends varied across U.S. Census Regions, with the highest rates of suburban administration occurring in the South.

Conclusions

Naloxone administration rates increased more quickly than opioid deaths across all levels of county urbanicity, but increases in the percentage of individuals requiring multiple doses and refusing subsequent care require further attention.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.