"Our population-based study provides evidence that police seizures of substances identified as opioids or stimulants are significantly associated with increased spatiotemporal clustering of overdose events in the immediate surrounding geographic area (radii of 100 m, 250 m, and 500 m) over 1-, 2-, and 3-week periods. Importantly, the difference in spatiotemporal clustering of all 3 overdose event rates before and after opioid-related seizures was higher than expected under the estimated null distribution across all radii and time intervals although this pattern of association was less consistent among stimulant-related seizures. This is consistent with our hypothesized mechanism because persons with opioid use disorder who lose their supply will experience both diminishing tolerance and withdrawal, whereby even the anticipation of painful symptoms may lead them to seek a new supply while discounting risks that stem from the differences in potency inherent in an illicit opioid market; this results in unknown tolerance, uncertainty about a safe dose, and increased overdose risk."We were unable to assert a causal relationship between law enforcement drug market disruptions and overdose, and our study was not designed to, but our results are consistent with other evidence of this association.18,19,22–24 Moreover, federal agencies already recognize the harms that emerge from these disruptions; for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the Opioid Rapid Response Program, an interagency effort designed to reduce overdose by rapidly increasing access to treatment of chronic pain and substance use disorder in the wake of enforcement actions against pain clinics and opioid prescribers.25,26 Routine supply-side interdictions among police may merit similar efforts to prevent resulting overdose in the surrounding community—but with more frequent need, given the prevailing volume of seizures."Officers might also use the considerable discretion at their disposal when interacting with persons who use drugs, particularly in enforcing misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies that regulate drugs to reduce harms that might come from disrupting an individual’s drug supply.27 Additionally, our study suggests that information on drug seizures may provide a touchpoint that is further upstream than other postoverdose events, providing greater potential to mitigate harms. For example, although the role of law enforcement in overdose remains a topic of debate,28 public safety partnerships could entail timely notice of interdiction events to agencies that provide overdose prevention services, outreach, and referral to care.25"
Ray, B., Korzeniewski, S. J., Mohler, G., Carroll, J. J., Del Pozo, B., Victor, G., Huynh, P., & Hedden, B. J. (2023). Spatiotemporal Analysis Exploring the Effect of Law Enforcement Drug Market Disruptions on Overdose, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2020-2021. American journal of public health, 113(7), 750–758. doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2023.307291