Leveraging Body-Worn Camera Footage to Better Understand Opioid Overdoses and the Impact of Police-Administered Naloxone

Michael D. White, Seth Watts, Carlena Orosco, Dina Perrone, Aili Malm

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives. To investigate what transpires at opioid overdoses where police administer naloxone and to identify the frequency with which concerns about police-administered naloxone are observed. Methods. We reviewed body-worn camera (BWC) footage of all incidents where a Tempe, Arizona police officer administered naloxone or was present when the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue (TFMR) administered it, from February 3, 2020 to May 7, 2021 (n = 168). We devised a detailed coding instrument and employed univariate and bivariate analysis to examine the frequency of concerns regarding police-administered naloxone. Results. Police arrived on scene before the TFMR in 73.7% of cases. In 88.6% of calls the individual was unconscious when police arrived, but 94.6% survived the overdose. The primary concerns about police-administered naloxone were rarely observed. There were no cases of improper naloxone administration or accidental opioid exposure to an officer. Aggression toward police from an overdose survivor rarely occurred (3.6%), and arrests of survivors (3.6%) and others on scene (1.2%) were infrequent. Conclusions. BWC footage provides a unique window into opioid overdoses. In Tempe, the concerns over police-administered naloxone are overstated. If results are similar elsewhere, those concerns are barriers that must be removed. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(9):1326-1332. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2022.306918).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1326-1332
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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