Opioid antagonists and legal safe harbor

From Leo Beletsky, Josiah Rich, and Alexander Walley in JAMA:

During the time it typically takes some overdoses to turn fatal, it is possible to reverse the respiratory depression and other effects of opioids with the antagonist naloxone. […]

Some states have passed laws indemnifying clinicians from risk of malpractice lawsuits perceived to arise from prescription of naloxone. Others have introduced Good Samaritan laws shielding lay bystanders and persons experiencing overdose from possible civil liability (flowing from providing first aid) and criminal drug charges when 911 is called. Using evidence-based model legislation, federal coordination can help disseminate these legal protections to encourage clinician engagement, lay responder rescue, and help-seeking.

If such legal protections are judged to be sensible for naloxone, why stop there? Do physicians, insurers, and good Samaritans need more legal safe harbors for provision of evidence-based, cost-effective care?


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