Messaging to increase public support for naloxone distribution policies in the United States: Results from a randomized survey experiment

Marcus A. Bachhuber, Emma E. McGinty, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Jeff Niederdeppe, Colleen L. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Barriers to public support for naloxone distribution include lack of knowledge, concerns about potential unintended consequences, and lack of sympathy for people at risk of overdose. Methods: A randomized survey experiment was conducted with a nationally-representative web-based survey research panel (GfK KnowledgePanel). Participants were randomly assigned to read different messages alone or in combination: 1) factual information about naloxone; 2) pre-emptive refutation of potential concerns about naloxone distribution; and 3) a sympathetic narrative about a mother whose daughter died of an opioid overdose. Participants were then asked if they support or oppose policies related to naloxone distribution. For each policy item, logistic regression models were used to test the effect of each message exposure compared with the no-exposure control group. Results: The final sample consisted of 1,598 participants (completion rate: 72.6%). Factual information and the sympathetic narrative alone each led to higher support for training first responders to use naloxone, providing naloxone to friends and family members of people using opioids, and passing laws to protect people who administer naloxone. Participants receiving the combination of the sympathetic narrative and factual information, compared to factual information alone, were more likely to support all policies: providing naloxone to friends and family members (OR: 2.0 [95% CI: 1.4 to 2.9]), training first responders to use naloxone (OR: 2.0 [95% CI: 1.2 to 3.4]), passing laws to protect people if they administer naloxone (OR: 1.5 [95% CI: 1.04 to 2.2]), and passing laws to protect people if they call for medical help for an overdose (OR: 1.7 [95% CI: 1.2 to 2.5]). Conclusions: All messages increased public support, but combining factual information and the sympathetic narrative was most effective. Public support for naloxone distribution can be improved through education and sympathetic portrayals of the population who stands to benefit from these policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0130050
JournalPloS one
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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