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Event Date: 

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 12:00pm

Event Location: 

1345 Health Sciences Learning Center

Contact Info: 

Rosalind Bendix-Lewis,, (608) 265-0516

PHS Monday Seminar: Anita Mukherjee, PhD: "The Moral Hazard of Lifesaving Innovations: Naloxone Access, Opioid Abuse, and Crime"


The United States is experiencing an epidemic of opioid abuse. In response, many states have increased access to Naloxone, a drug that can help save lives when administered during an overdose. However, Naloxone access may unintentionally increase opioid use through two channels: (1) saving the lives of active drug users, and (2) reducing the risk of death per use, thereby making riskier opioid use more appealing to marginal users. By increasing the number of opioid abusers who need to fund their drug purchases, Naloxone access laws may also increase property crime such as theft. We exploit the staggered timing of Naloxone access laws to estimate the effects of these laws. We find that broadening Naloxone access in urban areas led to more opioid-related emergency room visits, more opioid-related deaths, and more opioid-related theft. We also find evidence that broadening Naloxone access increased the use of fentanyl, a particularly potent opioid; this is consistent with the moral hazard hypothesis that Naloxone served as a safety net that encouraged users to seek higher highs.

Health Sciences Learning Center