Police Officers Can Safely and Effectively Administer Intranasal Naloxone

Rian Fisher, Daniel O'Donnell, Bradley Ray, Daniel Rusyniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Introduction: Opioid overdose rates continue to rise at an alarming rate. One method used to combat this epidemic is the administration of naloxone by law enforcement. Many cities have implemented police naloxone administration programs, but there is a minimal amount of research examining this policy. The following study examines data over 18 months, after implementation of a police naloxone program in an urban setting. We describe the most common indications and outcomes of naloxone administration as well as examine the incidence of arrest, immediate detention, or voluntary transport to the hospital. In doing so, this study seeks to describe the clinical factors surrounding police use of naloxone, and the effects of police administration. Methods: All police officer administrations were queried from April 2014 through September 2015 (n = 126). For each incident we collected the indication, response, and disposition of the patient that was recorded on a “sick-injured civilian” report that officers were required to complete after administration of naloxone. All of the relevant information was abstracted from this report into an electronic data collection form that was then input into SPSS for analysis. Results: The most common indication for administration was unconscious/unresponsive (n = 117; 92.9%) followed by slowed breathing (n = 72; 57.1%), appeared blue (n = 63; 50.0%) and not breathing (n = 41; 32.5%). After administration of naloxone the majority of patients regained consciousness (n = 82; 65.1%) followed by began to breath (n = 71; 56.3%). However, in 17.5% (n = 22) of the cases “Nothing” happened when naloxone was administered. The majority of patients were transported voluntarily to the hospital (n = 122; 96.8%). Lastly, there was only one report where the patient became combative. Conclusion: Our study shows that police officers trained in naloxone administration can correctly recognize symptoms of opioid overdose, and can appropriately administer naloxone without significant adverse effects or outcomes. Furthermore, the administration of police naloxone does not result in a significant incidence of combativeness or need for scene escalations such as immediate detention. Further research is needed to investigate the impact of police naloxone; specifically, comparing outcomes of police delivery to EMS alone, as well as the impact on rural opioid overdoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-680
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • naloxone
  • overdose
  • police

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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