Descriptive Epidemiology for Community-wide Naloxone Administration by Police Officers and Firefighters Responding to Opioid Overdose


Recently implemented New York State policy allows police and fire to administer intranasal naloxone when responding to opioid overdoses. This work describes the geographic distribution of naloxone administration (NlxnA) by police and fire when responding to opioid overdoses in Erie County, NY, an area of approximately 920,000 people including the City of Buffalo. Data are from opioid overdose reports (N = 800) filed with the Erie County Department of Health (July 2014–June 2016) by police/fire and include the overdose ZIP code, reported drug(s) used, and NlxnA. ZIP code data were geocoded and mapped to examine spatial patterns of NlxnA. The highest NlxnA rates (range: 0.01–84.3 per 10,000 population) were concentrated within the city and first-ring suburbs. Within 3 min 27.3% responded to NlxnA and 81.6% survived the overdose. The average individual was male (70.3%) and 31.4 years old (SD = 10.3). Further work is needed to better understand NlxnA and overdose, including exploring how the neighborhood environment creates a context for drug use, and how this context influences naloxone use and overdose experiences.

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Correspondence to Sarah Cercone Heavey.

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Heavey, S.C., Delmerico, A.M., Burstein, G. et al. Descriptive Epidemiology for Community-wide Naloxone Administration by Police Officers and Firefighters Responding to Opioid Overdose. J Community Health 43, 304–311 (2018).

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  • Community health
  • Opioid overdose
  • Naloxone administration
  • Health geography