Law & Policy Insights

Overdose “Good Samaritan” Laws Should Protect, Not Punish

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project Resources

January 26, 2020
by Corey Davis

Overdose “Good Samaritan” laws are theoretically designed to encourage people to call for help in an overdose emergency by providing limited legal immunity to overdose victims and those who seek help for them, but many of these laws currently have limitations that discourage people from seeking help.

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Law and Policy Pathways to Protect Soil Health—A Critical Component of a Healthy Climate and a Healthy Population

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and HealthTribal Health

December 17, 2019
by Jill Krueger

Healthy soil contains organic matter that contributes to the nutritional quality of food and can have a significant impact on agricultural output. It also plays a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change by reducing erosion and storm water runoff, protecting against drought, and reducing carbon emissions. Policymakers at both the federal and local level are increasingly including laws and provisions that promote healthy soils in their environmental policies and legislation.

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Federal Housing Policy: From Disappointing Regulatory Proposals to Inspiring Enforcement Actions

Law & Policy InsightsHealthy and Affordable Housing

December 17, 2019
by Kathleen Hoke

Public health leaders have criticized a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposal that would place an increased burden on those seeking to prove discrimination in housing practices. While the HUD proposal moves through the regulatory process, another federal agency, the Department of Justice, continues to do its part to prevent discrimination in housing and punish those who engage in unfair and illegal housing practices.

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Protecting Women’s Reproductive Rights—An Examination of Preclearance Provisions Under the Reproductive Rights Act

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Reform

December 4, 2019

In 2019, several states passed strict laws limiting access to abortion. Some state laws specifically aim to overturn the seminal case, Roe v. Wade. Proposed legislation modeled after the Voting Rights Act seeks to require states with a history of restricting access to abortion to preclear any new abortion law with the Department of Justice before such law or practice can take effect.

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Navigating Law to Share Environmental Health Data: Highlights from the Public Health Law Summit

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Information and Data SharingEnvironment, Climate and Health

December 4, 2019
by Colleen Healy Boufides

The medium through which an environmental exposure occurs (e.g., water, air, soil) is often geographically based and/or clustered. For this reason, responding to an environmental health threat in a meaningful and timely way requires real-time, granular data and prompt local action. The broad range of potentially relevant environmental health data sources highlights one of the key legal challenges with obtaining and using local data: often each type of data (hazard, exposure and health outcome) is governed by a different law and may be collected by a different entity.

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Public Health Law News Round-Up – Fall 2019

Law & Policy Insights

November 21, 2019

Public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include expanding Medicaid access post-postpartum to improve maternal mortality rates; how changes in naloxone access laws could save thousands of lives; Juul’s suspension of flavored e-cigarette product sales amid growing scrutiny of its advertising practices; how proposed food-stamp cutbacks could worsen obesity and food insecurity in the U.S.; and a landmark ruling on supervised injection sites.

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Federal Restrictions on Funding for Syringe Services Programs

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionHarm Reduction Legal ProjectOpioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention

November 21, 2019
by Corey Davis

Syringe service programs (SSP) are places where people who inject drugs (PWID) can receive new syringes and other injection equipment and drop off used supplies. They typically also provide other harm reduction and health promotion services including referrals to treatment, hepatitis C and HIV testing, the overdose reversal medication naloxone, and other related services. Nevertheless, SSPs are controversial due to stigma around PWID and many states prohibit the use of state funds for the operation of SSPs.

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Women’s Health at Risk: How the Title X Final Rule Will Impact Poor and Low-Income Women

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Reform

November 7, 2019
by April Shaw

Title X is the only federally funded program for low-income patients exclusively dedicated to providing family planning and preventative services, including contraception and screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer and STDs. Title X serves some four million people a year, most of them women. However, recent rule changes threaten to severely limit women’s access to these essential services.

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How Proposed SNAP Regulations Could Threaten Food Security for Millions of Children

Law & Policy InsightsFood Safety and SecurityFood Security

November 7, 2019
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Approximately 37 million Americans lack dependable access to enough food to live healthy lives. The health effects of food insecurity are particularly pronounced for children, putting them at increased risk for mental health disorders, chronic disease and impaired cognitive development. Current proposed changes to the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides qualifying households with funds to purchase food, would put millions of children at risk of experiencing ongoing food insecurity.

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Water Quality and Public Health – Preparing for a Changing Climate

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and Health

October 23, 2019
by Betsy Lawton

Human exposure to waterborne illnesses will increase as climate change creates more extreme precipitation events that drive harmful pollutants that into fresh waters used for drinking, bathing, swimming, and boating. Rising global temperature is also predicted to promote the growth of pathogens and toxic algae blooms in freshwater. Communities recognizing these threats are establishing adaptation plans and policies to prevent increased risks to human health as the climate changes.

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