A Pilot Study to Increase Take-up of Overdose Reversal Drugs
Despite widespread public attention to the opioid epidemic and numerous policies to prevent opioid misuse, overdose deaths in the United States increased 16 percent per annum between 2014 and 2017. Public health authorities consider naloxone, a prescription opioid-overdose reversal drug, a key strategy to stemming the tide of overdose deaths and recommend dispensing the medication along with high-dose opioid prescriptions. Nonetheless, naloxone take-up remains low. In collaboration with an online pharmacy platform licensed to dispense naloxone in many states, we will use an online advertising campaign to pilot test approaches to increasing naloxone purchases. Randomizing advertisements across counties, we will measure how traffic to the pharmacy site and naloxone purchases respond to purchase price, information content, or how salient the ads make stigma. We will also consider the impact of advertising more generally. This pilot will be used to scale up to a study that sheds light on both the price elasticity of demand for naloxone and potential non-price barriers to take-up.