Attitudes of emergency medical service providers toward naloxone distribution programs

Karin E. Tobin, Wade R. Gaasch, Carla Clarke, Ellen MacKenzie, Carl A. Latkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Training and distributing naloxone to drug users is a promising method for reducing deaths associated with heroin overdose. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers have experience responding to overdose, administering naloxone, and performing clinical management of the patient. Little is known about the attitudes of EMS providers toward training drug users to use naloxone. We conducted an anonymous survey of 327 EMS providers to assess their attitudes toward a pilot naloxone program. Of 176 who completed the survey, the majority were male (79%) and Caucasian (75%). The average number of years working as an EMS provider was 7 (SD = 6). Overall attitudes toward training drug users to administer naloxone were negative with 56% responding that this training would not be effective in reducing overdose deaths. Differences in attitudes did not vary by gender, level of training, or age. Providers with greater number of years working in EMS were more likely to view naloxone trainings as effective in reducing overdose death. Provider concerns included drug users' inability to properly administer the drug, program condoning and promoting drug use, and unsafe disposal of used needles. Incorporating information about substance abuse and harm reduction approaches in continuing education classes may improve the attitudes of provider toward naloxone training programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-302
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Drug users
  • EMS providers
  • Naloxone
  • Overdose prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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