Fatal drug overdose has increased more than six-fold in the past three decades, and now claims the lives of over 36,000 Americans every year. It is estimated that 15,000 of those deaths are caused by opioids, and the actual number is likely higher. The increase is driven mostly by prescription opioids such as oxycontin and hydrocodone, which now account for more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
Opioid overdoses are typically reversible through the timely administration of the drug naloxone and the provision of emergency care. Access to naloxone and emergency treatment, however, is often limited by laws that pre-date the overdose epidemic and were developed for other purposes. In an attempt to reverse this increase in preventable overdose deaths, many states have recently amended those laws to increase access to emergency care for opiate overdose.
This resource summarizes naloxone access and Good Samaritan laws.