COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The possibility of being revived with naloxone does not cause Americans to think heroin is less risky, according to researchers at The Ohio State University.
“Even people who use heroin know it is risky, and access to naloxone has not changed that,” said Mike Vuolo, associate professor and co-author of the study.
There has been a pervading belief that heroin users don’t fear the opioid as much because they know they can be brought back to life with a naloxone nasal spray if they overdose.
The prescription medication, brand name Narcan, reverses an opioid overdose by restoring normal breathing. It has no effect on people who don’t have opioids in their systems, so there’s no risk in using it.
The researchers used data from 2004 to 2016, which included nearly 900,000 respondents aged 12 and older, who were asked to rate the risk involved with heroine use. Researchers then matched the responses to the naloxone laws in the state and counties where they lived.
Researchers say people’s perception of heroine as dangerous did not change depending on the laws where they lived.
“That suggests naloxone access laws aren’t encouraging young people to try heroin because they think it is less risky,” Vuolo said. “We shouldn’t fear expanding access to this life-saving medication.”
The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.