Eastern Region Office Director Kathleen Hoke shares her insights into how laws designed to reduce the harm from tobacco use have changed over a decade, and the significant strides the public health community has made to reduce tobacco use initiation and increase tobacco cessation. This article is the first in a series of articles by Network attorneys on major public health law and policy developments over the past 10 years. Read more.
Youth Violence Prevention: Balancing Student Surveillance, Privacy and Equity
The desire to predict and prevent violence by young people is understandable and valid, particularly in the wake of school violence tragedies like Columbine, Parkland, and Sandy Hook. Communities do have a valid interest in identifying its members who are more likely to perpetrate violence, even when those perpetrators are children. However, that interest must be carefully balanced with the equally important competing interests of privacy and equity.
Public Health Law News Roundup
Some of the public health law and policy issues in the headlines in recent weeks include a Supreme Court ruling blocking California’s ban on indoor religious services; the reintroduction of a significant maternal health bill; inaction of the defense production act to speed COVID vaccinations, introduction of an anti-racism in public health bill; the passing of the first state law decriminalizing possession of drugs; an innovative approach to reducing pedestrian and cyclist deaths; and proposed legislation to protect state and county public health professionals from threats and harassment.
Ensuring Access to Clean Needles Can Save Lives, but Legal Barriers Persist
The United States continues to experience an unprecedented level of drug-related harm. In addition to a tragic increase in overdose deaths, bloodborne disease infections related to syringe sharing are also on the rise, as are cases of a potentially deadly heart infection caused largely by unsafe injection. Unfortunately, laws at the federal, state, and local levels make it difficult for people who inject drugs to access sterile syringes, leading to an epidemic of preventable disease.
Webinar: Increasing Access to Opioid Agonist Treatment: An Innovative, Cross-Sector Approach
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET | February 25, 2021
Despite the proven effectiveness of utilizing opioid agonist treatment (OAT) to treat those experiencing an opioid use disorder, a multitude of structural and policy barriers prevent them from accessing treatment. Attend this webinar to learn about an innovative, multi-sector approach to identifying and removing barriers to OAT in eight sectors: health care, the criminal legal system, family law, housing, zoning, transportation, education and youth, and employment—as outlined in the newly released paper, A Cross Sector Approach to Removing Legal and Policy Barriers to Opioid Agonist Treatment.
Law and Policy Pathways to Addressing the Epidemic of Drug Related Harm
Most of the epidemic levels of drug related harm currently occurring in the U.S. could be prevented by expanding existing interventions, removing barriers to effective care, and making legal changes to eliminate the criminalization of drug use. This guide outlines key law and policy measures that, if taken, would significantly advance efforts to reduce drug related harm in the U.S.
Legal Interventions to Reduce Overdose Mortality: Naloxone Access Laws
Opioid overdoses are typically reversible through the timely administration of the drug naloxone and the provision of emergency care. However, laws that pre-date the overdose epidemic and were developed for other purposes often limit access to naloxone and emergency treatment. Many states have recently amended those laws to increase access to emergency care for opiate overdose. This resource summarizes characteristics of naloxone access in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Harm Reduction Laws in the United States
This 50-state survey is designed to help individuals and organizations better understand how the legal landscape in their state may impact access to harm reduction services and supplies. It covers laws related to syringe possession and distribution, naloxone access, statewide naloxone standing orders, and Good Samaritan overdose protections in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Additional Resources. 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. For assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the Cover of COVID: A Survey of 2020 - 2021 State Preemption Trends
This recently released report from the Local Solutions Support Center reveals how the growing abuse of preemption over the last decade forced many municipalities to start from behind when responding to the pandemic. It also highlights the issue areas advocates are preparing to defend from state interference in the months ahead—particularly preemption aimed at undermining local public health measures and local oversight of police reform and accountability efforts.
Monitoring and Exposing Tobacco Industry Interference in U.S. Public Policy
Tobacco use remains a leading cause of disease and early death in the U.S., accounting for 480,000 deaths annually. Kathleen Hoke, director of the Network’s Eastern Region Office, co-authored this post, published in the journal BMJ Tobacco Control, noting how tobacco industry interference continues to be the greatest barrier to enacting effective tobacco control laws.
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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.