2022 journal article
Prevalence and correlates of incarceration following emergency medical services response to overdose
DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE, 238.
To describe the prevalence of incarceration among survivors of non-fatal overdose addressed through an emergency medical services (EMS) response, and compare incarceration by whether the emergency was for opioid-involved or stimulant-involved overdose.Administrative records on 192,113 EMS incidents and 70,409 jail booking events occurring between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana were record-linked at the event level. Incarceration taking place within 6-hours of an EMS incident was associated with that incident. Logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) of incarceration after an overdose.Among all EMS incidents, 2.6% were followed by incarceration. For overdose EMS incidents, the prevalence of incarceration was 10.0%. Overdose incidents had higher odds than non-overdose incidents of leading to a charge of felony, booked on a warrant, and transferred to another law enforcement agency upon release. Prevalence of incarceration following a stimulant-involved overdose was 21.3%, compared to 9.3% for opioid-involved overdose survivors. Compared to persons from other EMS incidents, overdose survivors had greater odds of incarceration (AOR=3.48, 95% confidence interval (CI)= 3.22, 3.75, p < .001), with opioid-involved overdoses (AOR=3.03, 95% CI=2.76, 3.33, p < .001) and stimulant-involved overdoses (AOR=6.70, 95% CI=5.26, 8.55, p < .001) leading to higher odds of incarceration.Incarceration in county jail followed one in ten overdose-involved EMS responses. As illicit drug consumption increasingly involves stimulants, the frequency of incarceration following these events is likely to increase. Policy changes and interventions are needed to reduce incarceration after overdose emergencies.