Naloxone for Overdose Reversal: Challenges and Opportunities

New Report Finds Use of Naloxone, a Life-Saving Overdose Medication, Varies Widely by State

September 15, 2022 – Washington, D.C – Today, Well Being Trust released the policy brief “Naloxone for Overdose Reversal: Challenges & Opportunities,” which outlines inconsistencies around Naloxone policy and practice across states and makes recommendations for how to best utilize the life-saving medication.

The opioid epidemic has significantly worsened since COVID-19, with opioid overdose deaths increasing by 32% between 2019 and 2020. Naloxone – a FDA-approved opioid antagonist that reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids – is a critical life-saving tool that is used to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

To develop the brief, Well Being Trust partnered with researchers at Health Management Associates and reviewed past research and policy, and conducted interviews with 20 experts from multiple disciplines including policymakers, administrators, doctors, harm reduction advocates, first responders, and pharmacologists.

“After a thorough review of research on this topic and in-depth interviews, we identified several barriers and clinical disagreements that have hindered the use of Naloxone,” said Barry Jacobs, PsyD, one of the study’s authors.

He added, “With the rate of deaths by overdose continuing to rise, it’s imperative that we take immediate action to reverse these devasting trends.”

Through the research and interviews, Well Being Trust outlined four recommendations for policymakers:

  • Increase data collection and analysis for Naloxone’s impact on victims and administers;
  • Increase availability, accessibility and distribution of Naloxone in communities;
  • Establish consistent best practices among clinicians and establish mandated overdose/Naloxone stigma reduction training;
  • Establish best practices for community distribution programs and trainings.

We’re losing far too many lives to preventable overdose deaths, and we simply can’t afford to be uncoordinated and inconsistent in our response. We need every tool in our toolbelt to overcome this, and this policy brief sets out recommendations to make the best use of naloxone to save lives and reduce harm.”

To optimize the life-saving benefits of naloxone and reduce overdose death rates, Well Being Trust calls for additional research in the way naloxone is used, its effectiveness and ideal formulation; creating practice standards; and changing federal and state policies to increase access to this life-saving medication.

About Well Being Trust
Well Being Trust is a national foundation dedicated to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health for all. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, @WellBeingTrust.

About Health Management Associates
Founded in 1985, HMA is an independent, national research and consulting firm specializing in publicly funded healthcare and human services policy, programs, financing, and evaluation. Clients include government, public and private providers, health systems, health plans, community-based organizations, institutional investors, foundations, and associations. With offices in more than 20 locations across the country and over 500 multidisciplinary consultants coast to coast, HMA’s expertise, services, and team are always within client reach.

Media Contact:
Amy Shields, M.A.