Systemic Racism and Intersectionality: To Get Practical, We Need to Get Theoretical

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthRacism as a Public Health Crisis

January 7, 2021
by April Shaw

With growing interest in tackling structural and other forms of racism, this is a good time to consider how theory is fundamental to bringing about meaningful, practical change. The theories that guide us may be consciously thought out or unreflectively adopted. Therefore, it is necessary to intentionally unpack and understand the norms and assumptions that are built into our day-to-day practices and long-term strategies to bring about reforms.

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Ordinances as a Tool for Increased Enforcement of COVID-19 Orders

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Social Distancing Measures

December 16, 2020
by Carrie Waggoner

As the pandemic in the U.S. continues to worsen, many states are requiring additional disease mitigation measures. While many governors continue to utilize their executive authority under state emergency management laws to protect the public’s health, enforcement of public health orders at the state and local level has been a challenge across the country. One potential solution is for local jurisdictions to utilize civil infractions as an enforcement mechanism for public health orders through the enactment of ordinances.

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Disease Outbreaks at Substance Use Treatment Facilities: Balancing Privacy and Public Health

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Information and Data SharingSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

December 16, 2020

The current pandemic demonstrates the need for careful and explicit consideration of public health reporting provisions in privacy law. In federally assisted substance use treatment facilities, a lack of clear and standardized public health reporting regulations raises questions about how communicable disease reporting occurs in these settings, including whether the burden of disease among specific patient populations is accurately tracked.

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Public Health Law News Roundup – November/December 2020

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19

December 16, 2020

Some of the public health law and policy issues in the headlines in recent weeks include challenges to public health powers; vaccine data and privacy concerns; COVID vaccination mandates and health care workers; California’s proposed legislation extending the state’s eviction moratorium; pandemic-induced food insecurity; the Biden administration’s plans for addressing the ongoing drug epidemic; vaccine distribution challenges faced by states; and the Supreme Court ruling on religious freedoms and COVID restrictions.

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Determining Whether Federal Law Prohibits the Mailing of Naloxone

Law & Policy InsightsHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project ResourcesOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

December 3, 2020
by Corey Davis

The Network’s Harm Reduction Legal Project works to address the legal and policy barriers that impede the establishment and expansion of evidence-based harm reduction measures such as naloxone distribution, syringe access programs, and access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment. One of the questions frequently received by the Project is whether federal law prohibits harm reduction organizations and similar groups who are authorized to distribute naloxone from mailing the medication.

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Cannabis and the 2020 Election: Americans’ Changing Views on Legalization

Law & Policy InsightsCivic Engagement and VotingMarijuana Legalization

December 3, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Even though cannabis is still illegal under federal law; most Americans (91 percent) favor the legalization of cannabis either for medical or recreational use. This is a serious change in public opinion. In 2010, 52 percent of Americans opposed the legalization of cannabis. This more accepting view of cannabis appeared in the 2020 election, with five states legalizing cannabis through ballot measures. With the legalization trend, it is important to understand the legal process behind the ballot measures that have been central to changing state cannabis laws.

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Ruling Preserves Critical Access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Safety and Security

November 2, 2020
by Sarah Somers

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the challenge for states to provide safe conditions for individuals to vote in the upcoming Presidential election. In two southwestern states, public health executive orders (New Mexico) and legal challenges (Arizona) have been seen ahead of the upcoming election related to voting conditions and voter registrations.

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Safe Voting During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Public Health Orders and Legal Challenges in Two Jurisdictions

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Emergency Legal Preparedness and Response

October 31, 2020
by Leila Barraza

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the challenge for states to provide safe conditions for individuals to vote in the upcoming Presidential election. In two southwestern states, public health executive orders (New Mexico) and legal challenges (Arizona) have been seen ahead of the upcoming election related to voting conditions and voter registrations.

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