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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Why Proposed Legislation to End Judicial Deference to Executive Agencies Matters for Public Health

Law & Policy InsightsPublic Health AuthorityEmergency Legal Preparedness and Response

February 21, 2024
by Darlene Huang Briggs

When a judge hears a case involving an agency’s interpretation of a statute, they defer to a qualified party—typically a state or federal agency—for their technical subject matter expertise in interpreting that statute. However, there has been a movement to pass legislation disallowing this practice. While these efforts do not target public health by name, they do make it harder for all agencies to implement needed rules and policies in the future–including state and local health agencies.

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Emerging Laws and Policies for Improved Climate Resilience and Increased Health Equity

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and HealthEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

February 8, 2024
by Jill Krueger

In response to ongoing extreme weather events and climate-related threats, there is an increasing urgency to enact laws and policies that address the negative health impacts of climate change and that equip communities with the resources and protections they need to adapt. In 2024, the Network will be monitoring state legislative activity for bills and enacted laws that will either advance or hinder climate mitigation and adaptation.

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What is the Nondelegation Doctrine and Why Does it Matter to Public Health?

Law & Policy InsightsPublic Health AuthorityEmergency Legal Preparedness and Response

February 8, 2024
by Emma Kaeser

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been an onslaught of legal challenges to public health authority, some of which cite a rule known as the nondelegation doctrine. The nondelegation doctrine purports to promote accountability by shifting power from unelected officials to legislatures. But in practice, limiting health officers’ authority can impede a health department’s ability to protect communities from harm.

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Improving Financial Literacy to Improve Health and Reduce Health Inequities One High School Graduate at a Time

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

February 6, 2024
by Kathleen Hoke

Financial capability (financial literacy coupled with access to economic opportunity) has a positive, long-term effect on health. However, many people living in the margins financially are not adequately equipped with financial education and training to make the most of their employment or other financial resources. Over the past decade, states have increasingly adopted legislation requiring students in public schools to pass personal finance courses in order to graduate high school.

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Voter Trends on Ballot Measures Show Support for Reproductive Rights

Law & Policy InsightsReproductive Health and Equity Maternal and Child Health

January 25, 2024
by April Shaw and Phyllis Jeden

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, states now have more legislative power to restrict or expand access to abortion services. One strategy that states are using to pass laws regarding abortion access is to place the issue of abortion on a ballot for voters to decide. These reproductive care access ballot measures are an important litmus test for the inclination of American voters.

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Repeal of Paraphernalia Laws: Minnesota Leads the Way

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

December 13, 2023
by Corey Davis

State laws that make it illegal to distribute or use items such as sterile syringes and smoking equipment have resulted in near record levels of drug overdose, hepatitis C infections and injection-related endocarditis due to the sharing of injections and inhalation supplies. Many advocates and observers, including members of the Network’s Harm Reduction Legal Project, have long advocated for the complete repeal of these harmful laws. Minnesota recently became the first state to do so.

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Innovative Use of Federal Power to Protect Tenants from Eviction

Law & Policy InsightsHealthy and Affordable HousingMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

December 12, 2023
by Kathleen Hoke

With the recission of the federal declaration of public health emergency, tenants lost some protections from the CARES Act and related federal policies. Proposals in the Biden Administration’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights provides avenues to support tenants in housing and project based rental assistance and expands those protections as negotiated measures between Freddie Mac and the landlord community.

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Legal Challenges to Dried Blood Spot Use in Michigan Highlight the Role of Informed Consent in Valuable Public Health Activities

Law & Policy InsightsMaternal and Child HealthMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

November 30, 2023
by Emma Kaeser

In the U.S., every state health department operates a newborn screening (NBS) program. NBS programs result in the early diagnosis of serious conditions in over 13,000 babies annually, making it a powerful public health intervention. As NBS requires the collection of personal information, it raises important considerations regarding individual privacy, autonomy, and ethical uses of data.

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The National Climate Resilience Framework Provides a Roadmap for Needed Policies and Programs to Better Prepare Communities for Adverse Conditions

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and Health

November 30, 2023
by Betsy Lawton

Wetlands absorb and slow floodwaters, help alleviate drought conditions, absorb pollutants, and when left undisturbed, store more carbon than forests. Despite their amazing natural features that help counteract the impacts of climate change, many states currently do not protect wetlands beyond what the Clean Water Act requires, and recently, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated protections for wetlands that have been in place for decades.

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Legal Action Needed to Protect Workers from Extreme Heat

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityInjury Prevention and Safety

November 16, 2023
by Jill Krueger

Occupational health is one important pathway for public health practitioners and cross-sector partners to address the adverse and inequitable human health impacts of extreme heat and climate change. Opportunities in the law and policy arena exist for those seeking to take action to protect workers from extreme heat.

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