Police Officers’ Views of Naloxone and Drug Treatment: Does Greater Overdose Response Lead to More Negativity? [2020]

Police officers and emergency personnel are on the frontlines of the opioid crisis. This research examines police officer attitudes about naloxone administration, drug treatment, and their role in handling drug-related incidents through an online survey. Although officers view themselves as adequately trained in administering naloxone/Narcan, almost half (43%) believe there should be a limit on how often someone who overdoses receives Narcan and the majority (83%) view naloxone/Narcan as providing an excuse to continue drug use. Officers also view drug treatment as ineffective. Negative attitudes differed as a function of frequency of overdose responses; officers who responded to more overdose calls and administered naloxone more frequently demonstrate more pessimistic attitudes toward drug treatment and the use of naloxone/Narcan. Officers more frequently exposed to drug overdoses need education and training about drug addiction issues to decrease stigma and elicit greater empathy toward people struggling with addiction.

Jennifer Murphy, Brenda Russell
Journal of Drug Issues, Vol 50, Issue 4, 2020