Thursday, February 10, 2022
Join us in Baltimore to examine the use of public health measures to mitigate harm from COVID-19, recent legislative and other efforts to severely limit these measures, and strategies to strengthen public health’s capacity to protect communities and advance health and racial equity. The Summit will be divided into two Sections: (1) Strengthening Community Health and (2) Advancing Health and Racial Equity. Attendees can choose to register for one or both. Learn more and register.
The Pandemic’s Silver Linings: Moving Toward a More Inclusive New Normal for People with Disabilities
Isolation measures taken in response to the pandemic necessitated a transition to virtual platforms for work, learning, and social activities for most Americans. While for some this transition created challenges like Zoom fatigue and less social time, for those unable to attend in-person gatherings due to disability or distance, these virtual platforms meant more opportunities for socializing and participation. The result has been a number of law and policy changes that have enhanced accessibility and equity for all people living in the United States.
Addressing the Inequitable Distribution of the Life-Saving Overdose Drug Naloxone: Could Vending Machines be an Answer?
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.
Legal Liability for Acts of “COVID Denialism”
While many governmental policies and approaches during the pandemic have been aimed at protecting individuals from COVID-related harms, some responses to the pandemic have directly conflicted with known, effective interventions or scientific findings. Shunning mask and vaccine mandates and passports, forgoing social distancing, re-opening rapidly following the end of stay-at-home orders, and other acts of “COVID-19 denialism” can contribute directly to increased infections, excess morbidity, and deaths. Government actors or entities supporting or furthering acts of COVID denialism resulting in harms to specific individuals or the public may be liable in manifold ways. This fact sheet examines these liability issues based on current or potential legal trends.
Adult-Use Cannabis Social Equity Tool Kit
The legal cannabis market in the United States is becoming an incredibly lucrative industry. As more states legalize adult-use cannabis and existing markets mature, estimates value the industry at approximately $44 billion in legal sales by 2025. However, the economic opportunities of this new industry are not equitably enjoyed. It’s estimated that 81 percent of cannabis business owners are white and only 4.3 percent of owners identify as African American. Compare this to the fact that African Americans make up 12.4 percent of the U.S. population. This Adult-Use Cannabis Social Equity Tool Kit surveys the legal policies used by the 18 states with licensed markets to create a more inclusive adult-use cannabis industry.
Crisis Standards of Care: COVID-19 State Invocations
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the nation have confronted patient surges and resource shortages consistent with implementing Crisis Standards of Care (CSC). This Table highlights states that have either invoked or facilitated implementation of CSC beginning February 2020. It includes state/local emergency declarations and executive orders, as well as health care entity activations pursuant to state plans in response to COVID-19 variants.
Legality of Expired Naloxone in North Carolina
In response to the ongoing opioid overdose crisis, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have modified their laws to increase access to naloxone, the standard first-line treatment for opioid overdose. While these laws have been successful in increasing access to this lifesaving medication, few explicitly address the legality of distributing and administering naloxone that is past its expiration date. This fact sheet briefly discusses the efficacy of expired naloxone and examines whether North Carolina law permits the distribution and administration of such naloxone.
Legality of Syringe Access Programs in South Carolina
Alongside the surge in overdose deaths, infections — including HIV, Hepatitis C, and the life-threatening heart condition endocarditis — have increased among people who inject drugs. As this is largely the result of sharing or reusing injection equipment, increasing access to sterile syringes is an extremely effective strategy for reducing the spread of bloodborne diseases. Unfortunately, paraphernalia laws in many states make it difficult for syringe access programs to operate, although this is not the case everywhere. This brief fact sheet discusses the legality of Syringe Access Programs in South Carolina.
Federal Vaccine Mandates: Assessing their Legalities
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET | February 24, 2022
Recent judicial trends challenging Federal vaccine mandates, along with the Supreme Court decision that struck down OSHA’s large employer mandate, raise significant concerns over the utility of mandates as a preventive measure. Attend this webinar to learn about the major federal vaccine mandates and their current legal statuses; the judicial trends underlying changing attitudes and approaches to vaccine mandates; and the future of mandates and vaccine policies.
Request for Session Proposals—Public Health Law Summit: Climate Change and Health Equity
The Network invites proposals for panels or individual presentations for the Climate Change and Health Equity Summit taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 12-14, 2022. Anyone working at the intersection of climate change, public health, health equity, and law and policy is encouraged to submit. We are interested in presentations from a wide variety of perspectives, including public health practitioners, community-based organizations, environmental organizations, attorneys, researchers, community members, and others. Submissions will be accepted until March 4, 2022. Learn more.
As more states contemplate cannabis legalization, understanding the broad spectrum of public health and policy issues, including advertising restrictions, personal cultivation regulations, social consumption sites, delivery services, local authority to limit or prohibit recreational marijuana enterprises, and social equity measures, is critical. To assist those working in the everchanging environment of cannabis legalization, the Network is launching a newsletter with quarterly updates on statutory and regulatory changes at the federal and state level, key issues, emerging research and articles related to cannabis use and distribution. The first issue is planned for late January and those interested can subscribe here.
Marketing and Communications Associate – Network National Office
The Network seeks an individual who is passionate about social justice to join us as our Marketing and Communications Associate. This position will help us successfully raise our national profile, engage with our key constituents, expand our reach, and improve our support to communities. The Marketing and Communications Associate must be a self-starter, with strong written and verbal communication skills. This position is based at the Network’s National Office in Edina, Minnesota.
Summit: Strengthening Public Health Law, Governance, and Finance to Support a Modern System
Feb. 23, 2022, 11:00 EST
This online summit, the third in a series sponsored by the CDC Foundation in collaboration with other public health partners, will focus on ways to strengthen governance and law in public health, explore legal concepts and strategies to improve public health and health equity, examine opportunities in response to the unprecedented level of current funding in public health, and explore innovations in financing to improve community health.
Share Your Thoughts on Policy Surveillance Resources
The Center for Public Health Law Research (CPHLR) at Temple University would like to invite users and nonusers of its online resources for public health law research and policy surveillance to participate in a survey about their experiences. CPHLR resources include datasets on LawAtlas.org, the MonQcle software platform used to create legal data sets, and policy surveillance training materials. The confidential survey, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will take five minutes and can be accessed here. Results will be published in a report with recommendations to improve and expand use of health policy surveillance data. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Your interest in the work of the Network is important. Together, we can advance law as a tool to improve public health. Please forward the Network Report and encourage others to join the Network!
The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.