Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Philip Brenner

Second Advisor

Kevin Wozniak

Third Advisor

Stephanie Hartwell


Opioid addiction has become an epidemic, especially in the United States, as opioid-related overdose deaths continue to rise. One approach to combat this epidemic has been by making Naloxone, an opioid antagonist drug, easier to use and more widely available. Prior to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Narcan, a Naloxone nasal spray, opioid overdoses were treated by trained professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to inject Naloxone into a muscle or vein of the person experiencing an overdose. However, the wider availability and ease of use Narcan allows for overdoses to be treated more promptly by first responders and, in some states, people who use drugs themselves. This study seeks to better understand how police officers make sense of the increasing availability of Naloxone, specifically Narcan, how they believe it might influence drug use, and how it might change the way they are trained and work within the community; it also seeks to fill in a gap in academic research literature by contributing to the understanding of the experiences of police officers who are on the front lines of the epidemic. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Dissertation is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this dissertation through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.