Businesses in high drug use areas as potential sources of naloxone during overdose emergencies

Kristin E. Schneider, Saba Rouhani, Noelle P. Weicker, Miles Morris, Susan G. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Naloxone distribution remains a cornerstone of a public health approach to combating the ongoing opioid overdose crisis. Most distribution programs focus on providing naloxone to individuals who use drugs or those closely associated with them (e.g., family). Utilizing businesses as fixed location sources of naloxone could be a valuable supplemental strategy to preventing fatal overdoses that is underexplored in the literature. Methods: We surveyed business owners and employees (N = 149) located in neighborhoods characterized by high rates of drug use in Baltimore City. Participants reported their interactions with people who use drugs as well as if they had heard of naloxone, if the business had naloxone on the premises, and how many employees were trained to use naloxone. Results: Most participants reported seeing individuals under the influence of drugs (93%), public drug use (80%), and overdose (66%) while at work. 66% of participants had heard of naloxone. Among those who had heard of naloxone, only 39% reported that there was a naloxone kit in the business and 28% of businesses had multiple employees trained to use naloxone. Conclusions: Businesses are underutilized as potential reliable sources of naloxone. While study participants reported high levels of exposure to drug use and overdose in and around their businesses, their ability to intervene was limited. Efforts to train employees to respond to overdoses and to keep naloxone on site are warranted to supplement existing naloxone distribution efforts and can help empower business staff to help prevent overdose mortality in their communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109357
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Businesses
  • Harm reduction
  • Naloxone
  • Overdose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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