Surveying the opinions of Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police toward officers carrying and administering naloxone

Paul A. Smyser, Jeffrey S. Lubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Recent legislation in Pennsylvania allows police officers to administer naloxone to individuals in an opioid overdose. Pressure has subsequently been placed on police departments to adopt naloxone programs. Objective: To survey Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police regarding potential obstacles to officer-administered naloxone, and their overall opinion toward such programs. Methods: A confidential survey was administered at the Annual Conference for the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and online over the organization’s listserv. Respondents rated their level of concern toward four potential obstacles on a Likert scale from 1 to 5. A fifth question asked the degree to which they agree that the benefits of naloxone programs outweigh the risks. Results: Of 180 attendees, 36 Chiefs of Police responded at the conference and 48 to the online survey. The potential agitation of revived victims was their largest reported concern, with 60% responding either a 4 or 5; this was followed by officers correctly identifying situations to use naloxone (42%), the cost of the medication (38%), and the additional administrative duties of the department (32%). Overall 60% responded they “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” the benefits of naloxone programs outweigh the risks, while 23% responded “Strongly Disagree” or “Disagree.” No significant differences were seen when separating participants from rural and urban counties or from counties with high, medium, and low rates of overdose fatalities. Conclusions: The results suggest that although a significant subset shows concern for the above obstacles, the majority of Chiefs of Police believe that the benefits of equipping officers with naloxone outweigh the risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-251
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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