Individuals and communities across the United States are struggling with an epidemic of drug-related harm. Although government agencies, nonprofit organizations, clinicians, and advocates have made great strides in reducing this harm, they are often hindered by laws and policies that reflect an outdated, punitive-focused approach to drugs and individuals who use them. To address the legal and policy barriers that hamper the establishment and expansion of evidence-based harm reduction measures, the Network for Public Health Law has launched the Harm Reduction Legal Project with support from Arnold Ventures.
The Harm Reduction Legal Project will provide direct guidance and consultation to governmental, nongovernmental, and private organizations as well as affected individuals to address legal and policy barriers to the creation, operation, and scale-up of harm reduction policies and programs. Entities and individuals requesting assistance in navigating the often extremely confusing maze of existing laws and regulations that hamper harm reduction initiatives will have access to subject matter experts who can provide research, legal analysis, and strategic guidance as well as referrals to other knowledgeable experts and leading institutions. Furthermore, this project will build the capacity of the harm reduction workforce to understand the impact of law and policy through educational webinars and practical workshop trainings.
“Many evidence-based harm reduction measures – including naloxone distribution and syringe access programs — are hampered by outdated laws and policies,” said Corey Davis, Director of the Harm Reduction Legal Project. “For more than ten years, the Network has helped build knowledge to advance laws and policies to empower individuals and communities to battle stigma, increase access to evidence-based interventions, and reduce drug-related harm.”
“While there are some resources available to individuals and organizations who seek to advance harm reduction law and practice in the United States, there is no ‘one stop shop’ to obtain guidance, consultation, and referrals to organizations that can provide direct legal assistance,” said Donna Levin, National Director of the Network. “The Harm Reduction Legal Project will fill this pressing and immediate need.”
The Harm Reduction Legal Project will provide real-time support to enable organizations to successfully operate within existing law and policy while providing information to advocates who seek to modify existing legal restrictions on harm reduction initiatives. As a result, the Project will help facilitate increased operation of new harm reduction programs, expansion of existing programs, and protect the continuation of programs threatened with legal impediments to their operations.
About the Network for Public Health Law
The Network for Public Health Law (Network) works to improve the health of communities across the United States by helping those who grapple with the legal complexities of modern public health. The Network provides research, analysis, strategic consultation and training in the use of law and policy to protect and promote health, and advance health equity. Visit networkforphl.org to learn more.
We are seeking a Senior Attorney to support the Project. Attorneys in good standing of the Bar of a U.S. jurisdiction, with 2-5 years of experience in providing either legal counsel or technical legal support in public health law, harm reduction law and policy, and related fields are encouraged to apply. Learn more and apply.