Utilizing a system dynamics (SD) modeling approach, the research team conducted a policy evaluation to determine the impact of GSLs on opioid use disorder (OUD) in Connecticut and evaluated the GSL based upon the following health outcomes: (1) emergency department (ED) visits for overdose, (2) behavioral changes of bystanders, and (3) overdose deaths.
The simulation results indicate that the number of opioid-related deaths will continue to increase and that the GSL alone cannot effectively control the crisis. However, the SD approach that was used will allow policymakers to evaluate the effectiveness of the GSL over time using a simulation framework. This SD model demonstrates great potential by producing simulations that allow policymakers to assess multiple strategies for combating the opioid crisis and select optimal public health interventions.
Although Good Samaritan laws (GSLs) have been widely adopted throughout the United States, their efficacy in individual states is often unknown. This paper offers an approach for assessing the impact of GSLs and insight for policy-makers and public health officials who wish to know whether they should expect to see outcomes from similar policy interventions.
The simulation model suggests that Connecticut's GSL has not yet affected overdose deaths but has resulted in bystander behavioral changes, such as increased 911 calls for overdose. ED visits have increased as the number of opioid users has increased.