Cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative naloxone distribution strategies: First responder and lay distribution in the United States

The U.S. is facing an unprecedented number of opioid-related overdose deaths, and an array of other countries have experienced increases in opioid-related fatalities. In the U.S., naloxone is increasingly distributed to first responders to improve early administration to overdose victims, but its cost-effectiveness has not been studied. Lay distribution, in contrast, has been found to be cost-effective, but rising naloxone prices and increased mortality due to synthetic opioids may reduce cost-effectiveness. We evaluate the cost-effectiveness of increased naloxone distribution to (a) people likely to witness or experience overdose (“laypeople”); (b) police and firefighters; (c) emergency medical services (EMS) personnel; and (d) combinations of these groups.


Increasing naloxone distribution to laypeople and first responder groups would maximize health gains and be cost-effective. If feasible, communities should distribute naloxone to all groups; otherwise, distribution to laypeople and one of the first responder groups should be emphasized.

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