Addressing the Inequitable Distribution of the Life-Saving Overdose Drug Naloxone: Could Vending Machines be an Answer?

Law & Policy InsightsHarm Reduction Legal ProjectOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

February 9, 2022
by Amy Lieberman

Despite state efforts, disparities in access to the life-saving overdose reversal drug naloxone are widespread.  People of color and those experiencing homelessness face numerous barriers to obtaining naloxone, which is especially concerning given that from 2018 to 2019, overdose deaths for non-Hispanic Black individuals increased 40 percent, while deaths remained stable among individuals of other races and ethnicities. One innovative way to improve access is through the use of naloxone vending machines, an approach currently in use in a number of prisons and jails. 

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A Growing Body of Evidence can Help Make the Case for Public Health Laws to Mitigate the Impacts of COVID-19

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Mechanisms for Advancing Public Health

January 27, 2022
by Jill Krueger

It’s a cornerstone of public health law that public health laws should be grounded in evidence and expertise. That principle has not always been honored during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though additional research is needed, there is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that public health interventions backed by law are associated with improved health outcomes.

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Student Loan Debt is Creating a Physical and Mental Health Crisis for Millions of Americans

Law & Policy InsightsEducationMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMental Health and Well-Being

January 26, 2022
by Erica White

Nearly 43 million Americans owe a combined $1.57 trillion in federal student loan debt, with Black borrowers holding 186 percent more debt per capita than White borrowers. Poor health outcomes, including high blood pressure and high rates of anxiety and depression, are associated with accumulating student loan debt. In response to the economic burdens of the pandemic, the Biden administration has paused student loan payment requirements several times, yet failure to address the debilitating effects of student loan debt has many calling on lawmakers to undertake education reform, including “forgiving” student loan debt.

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Public Health Law News Roundup – January 2022

Law & Policy Insights

January 12, 2022
by Mosalewa Ani

Some of the public health law and policy issues in the headlines in recent weeks include California’s new law requiring mental health courses be taught in schools, the challenges schools face in remaining open during the omicron surge, the addition of a common chemical to the FDAs list of hazardous chemicals, Medicaid expansion on the ballot in South Dakota, and libraries’ efforts to meet the growing social service needs of their patrons. 

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Network for Public Health Law Comment to HHS Providing Evidence Showing Relationship Between Health and Voting

Network NewsCivic Engagement and Voting

January 11, 2022
by Dawn Hunter

The Network's Southeastern Region Director Dawn Hunter submitted a response on January 10 to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Solicitation of Written Comments on Proposed Healthy People 2030 Objectives and Request for Information on the Relationship Between Voter Participation and Health. Read the response here. The Healthy People initiative serves as key guidance to health departments and their partners in developing a robust and comprehensive agenda that improves public health and health equity in the communities they serve.

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Implicit Bias and Public Health Law

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

January 11, 2022

Implicit bias is when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. Implicit bias is unintentional and automatic, but it affects how we process information, make decisions, and act. With respect to public health law, we must be cognizant of the myriad ways in which implicit bias can manifest at every stage from program development and enactment to enforcement issues.  

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Voting Rights: Why They Should be Included in Declarations of Racism as a Public Health Crisis

Law & Policy InsightsCivic Engagement and VotingMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

December 15, 2021
by Dawn Hunter

Voting is a way to shape the policies that impact how we live our lives – where we can afford to live, whether our neighborhoods are safe, the quality of the school system we send our children to, whether we are paid a living wage, how tax dollars are invested in our communities, and so much more. When a group of people is systematically prevented from fully engaging in the democratic process, the end result is a system that does not reflect the diversity of the peoples and perspectives it serves. Health equity can be advanced by removing barriers to participation in the electoral process, and that starts with acknowledging that those barriers exist. Declarations of racism as a public health crisis are one way to do just that.

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Climate Change, Health Equity, and Public Health Law Learning and Practice Collaborative

Network NewsEnvironment, Climate and HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

December 8, 2021
by April Shaw and Madeline Kim

The Network for Public Health Law is accepting applications for the Climate Change, Health Equity, and Public Health Law Learning and Practice Collaborative (Climate LPC) – a learning and practice collaborative for partners interested in the intersection of climate change and health equity to discuss law and policy solutions to mitigate public health impacts from climate change.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Law and Policy Developments Affecting the Disability Community

Law & Policy InsightsInjury Prevention and SafetyMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMedicaidSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

December 2, 2021
by Amy Lieberman, Colleen Healy Boufides and Morgan Jones-Axtell

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed annually to promote awareness and support for the rights and wellbeing of people with disabilities. One in four adults in the United States have a disability, and solutions to advance accessibility, inclusion, and equity must account for the diversity of experiences among people with disabilities. To mark the occasion, Network attorneys highlight recent law and policy developments related to health equity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

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Improving Data Sharing for Tribal Health: What Public Health Departments Need to Understand About HIPAA Data Privacy Requirements

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Information and Data SharingMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityTribal Health

December 2, 2021
by Sallie Milam

Tribes, tribal organizations and Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) need continuous and routine access to comprehensive and specific public health data to drive public health decision making, just as state and local health departments do, particularly during the current pandemic.  Sharing these data with tribal public health authorities is essential to address the health disparities experienced by American Indians and Alaska Natives. However, due to confusion around HIPAA Privacy Rule requirements, many health departments are unaware that they are able to share public health data with any other public health authority, including tribal organizations and TECs.  

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Addressing Disparities in Crisis Standard of Care Implementation

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityCrisis Standards of Care

November 17, 2021
by Jennifer Piatt

While the impacts of the pandemic have shifted slightly over time, COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact Hispanic, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native populations. These disparities have also shone a light on decision-making tools incorporated into Crisis Standard of Care plans, which are intended to save the most lives through triage decisions when resources are scarce and patient populations are surging, as they have been during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is critical that triage policies incorporate equitable allocation criteria to avoid continued and exacerbation of disparities, and to begin attempts to reduce and eliminate them.

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