Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Politics and Government: Political Science

First Advisor

Carl Palmer


From 2014-2015, the CDC saw a 72.2% increase in death rates related to synthetic opioids other than methadone, and a 20.6% increase in heroin related death rates. States have looked to one another for policy examples that would bring these numbers down. One of the earliest of these policies came out of 2001 in New Mexico with the first Naloxone Access Laws (NALs) followed by Drug Overdose Immunity Laws (DOILs) in 2007. These laws sought to remove barriers to people administering Naloxone and calling emergency responders due to overdoses, granting immunity to callers and overdose sufferers. This study looked at data from 799 counties over the period of 2006-2016 and used a Pooled OLS multivariate regression model to determine the effects of the breadth of protections provided by the DOILs, NALs, inequality and income in the counties, and categories of race/ethnicity and educational attainment. The biggest effect on death rates was seen in inequality, followed by presence of NALs and breadth of DOIL protection. Yearly regressions showed decreasing death rates according to laws overtime with a slight increase due to late adoption of DOILs. Some variables remain difficult to control for, and though the study has shown mixed results, the policy is a good tool in a multipronged attack on the opioid epidemic.


Imported from ProQuest Norton_ilstu_0092N_11489.pdf


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