Simulating the Simultaneous Impact of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder and Naloxone on Opioid Overdose Death in Eight New York Counties

Magdalena Cerdá, Ava D. Hamilton, Ayaz Hyder, Caroline Rutherford, Georgiy Bobashev, Joshua M. Epstein, Erez Hatna, Noa Krawczyk, Nabila El-Bassel, Daniel J. Feaster, Katherine M. Keyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic; 28.3 per 100,000 people died of opioid overdose in 2020. Simulation models can help understand and address this complex, dynamic, and nonlinear social phenomenon. Using the HEALing Communities Study, aimed at reducing opioid overdoses, and an agent-based model, Simulation of Community-Level Overdose Prevention Strategy, we simulated increases in buprenorphine initiation and retention and naloxone distribution aimed at reducing overdose deaths by 40% in New York Counties. Methods: Our simulations covered 2020-2022. The eight counties contrasted urban or rural and high and low baseline rates of opioid use disorder treatment. The model calibrated agent characteristics for opioid use and use disorder, treatments and treatment access, and fatal and nonfatal overdose. Modeled interventions included increased buprenorphine initiation and retention, and naloxone distribution. We predicted a decrease in the rate of fatal opioid overdose 1 year after intervention, given various modeled intervention scenarios. Results: Counties required unique combinations of modeled interventions to achieve a 40% reduction in overdose deaths. Assuming a 200% increase in naloxone from current levels, high baseline treatment counties achieved a 40% reduction in overdose deaths with a simultaneous 150% increase in buprenorphine initiation. In comparison, low baseline treatment counties required 250-300% increases in buprenorphine initiation coupled with 200-1000% increases in naloxone, depending on the county. Conclusions: Results demonstrate the need for tailored county-level interventions to increase service utilization and reduce overdose deaths, as the modeled impact of interventions depended on the county's experience with past and current interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-429
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2024


  • Agent-based models
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naloxone
  • Opioids
  • Overdose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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