Amy Judd Lieberman, J.D., serves as Senior Attorney, Harm Reduction Legal Project. Before joining the Network, Amy worked briefly in litigation after a fellowship with the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) working on critical issues related to the opioid epidemic and promoting harm reduction practices, specifically in the communities served by Medicaid and Medi-cal. While in law school, she was the president of the Law Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter, spearheading efforts to educate law students and the community on humane drug policy and harm reduction. She was also an advocate on the Jessup International Moot Court team and a research editor for the UC Irvine Law Review, and she received awards for her pro bono work and her work in the International Justice Clinic, supporting the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Amy received her B.F.A from New York University and her J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law.  She is barred in California and the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Articles & Resources

Harm Reduction Laws in the United States – 2024 Update

WebinarsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

February 27, 2024
by Amy Lieberman, Ashleigh Dennis and Corey Davis

In the U.S. there is considerable variation in the presence and specifics of laws regarding drug paraphernalia, naloxone access, and protections for people who call for help in an overdose, and these laws have changed over time. This webinar is designed to reduce confusion around harm reduction laws in the U.S. and help individuals and organizations better understand how the legal landscape in their state may impact access to harm reduction services and supplies and emergency medical assistance in an overdose.

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Changing State Policy to Promote Stronger Opioid Antagonists: Unnecessary and Potentially Harmful

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

February 22, 2024
by Amy Lieberman

The increasing need for access to naloxone to reverse opioid-related overdoses has drawn the interest of pharmaceutical companies who see an opportunity to market new, non-generic, more potent opioid antagonist products. State lawmakers have made changes in policy based on these marketing efforts. However, early research suggests that these high dose drugs are unnecessary and pose significant risks and side-effects, raising concerns over the commercialization of harm reduction efforts in the U.S.

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Naloxone Prescription Mandates

Fact SheetHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project ResourcesOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

September 11, 2023
by Amy Lieberman and Corey Davis

Drug overdose continues to claim the lives of tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year. Opioids, both prescription painkillers and street drugs such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, are responsible for the majority of these deaths. In response, states have passed legislation to increase access to the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, including provisions that allow for the distribution of naloxone through pharmacies. Some states have gone further and now require that naloxone be prescribed or offered to some patients. This fact sheet describes those requirements and links to the relevant laws.

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Drug-induced Homicide Laws will not Reduce Overdose Deaths: A Reminder on International Overdose Awareness Day

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionHarm Reduction Legal ProjectLegislation and Legal Challenges

August 30, 2023
by Amy Lieberman and Ashleigh Dennis

Over one million people in the U.S. have died from overdose since 1999. This year, as we remember those we’ve needlessly lost, we are also seeing calls for increased penalties for people who share drugs. Perhaps the cruelest form of these laws are drug-induced homicide (“DIH”) laws.

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State Non-Fatal Overdose Reporting Requirements

Fact SheetHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project ResourcesSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

May 30, 2023
by Amy Lieberman and Corey Davis

Variations among jurisdictions in determining and reporting causes of death and delays in obtaining and reporting fatality data often result in an incomplete and out-of-date view of the overdose epidemic in the U.S. It is imperative that health departments, harm reduction organizations, and people who use drugs are provided with accurate, timely and actionable information on drug-related overdose. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of current laws, regulations, and sub-regulatory sources governing mandatory disease reporting and a description of the laws and regulations governing reporting of overdoses in the jurisdictions that require or explicitly permit it as of March 31, 2023.

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Naloxone Insurance Coverage Mandates

Fact SheetHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project ResourcesSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

May 30, 2023
by Amy Lieberman and Corey Davis

This fact sheet details the state laws that require private insurers to cover at least one formulation of naloxone and those that reduce barriers to access naloxone where it is covered. Because these laws were written during a time when no over the counter (OTC) naloxone formulations were available, none explicitly require coverage for OTC naloxone.

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California Naloxone Liability Protections

Fact SheetHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project Resources

March 22, 2023
by Amy Lieberman and Corey Davis

Equipping people who use drugs, as well as their friends and family members, with the overdose reversal medication naloxone can significantly reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths. This fact sheet discusses laws in California that protect those who respond at the scene of an overdose emergency, including by administering naloxone to a person experiencing an overdose. These laws show a clear intention by the state to encourage laypersons to respond to overdose and increase access to and use of naloxone to reduce preventable overdose death and disability.

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Tennessee’s Naloxone Access Law, Explained

Fact SheetHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project ResourcesOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionTennessee

August 4, 2022
by Amy Lieberman and Corey Davis

In 2021 drug overdose claimed the lives of nearly 108,000 people, and either by themselves or in combination with other drugs or alcohol, opioids were responsible for approximately 75 percent of these deaths. Many of these deaths could have been prevented with the administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone and, where needed, other emergency care. This fact sheet outlines modifications and other changes to laws in Tennessee to increase access to naloxone, including removal of some confusing language that previously limited the impact of state efforts to increase access to lifesaving opioid antagonist medications.

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Legality of Dispensing Naloxone to Minors in California

Fact SheetHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project ResourcesOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionCalifornia

July 14, 2022
by Amy Lieberman and Corey Davis

There are many reasons a person under the age of 18 may wish to obtain the life-saving overdose reversal medication naloxone or another opioid antagonist. Substance use disorders often develop in adolescence, and around 10 percent of overdoses nationally occur in youth and young adults below 26 years old.  In 2020, over 15 percent (874 out of 5,502) overdose deaths in California occurred in individuals under the age of 25.  Additionally, individuals under the age of 18 may be able to intervene in the overdose of an adult, such as a friend or family member. This fact sheet examines the legality of dispensing naloxone to minors in California.

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Legality of Expired Naloxone in Tennessee

Fact SheetHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project ResourcesOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionTennessee

July 14, 2022
by Amy Lieberman and Corey Davis

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have modified their laws to increase access to naloxone, the standard first-line treatment for opioid overdose. While these laws have been successful in increasing access to this lifesaving medication, few explicitly address the legality of distributing and administering naloxone that is past its expiration date. This fact sheet discusses whether Tennessee laws forbid the prescription, dispensing, distribution, possession, or administration of expired naloxone and whether medical professionals and others who take such actions might be held liable.  

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