Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Improving Access to Community Mental Health Services

As understanding grows about the prevalence of mental illness among children and adults and the extent to which mental illness heightens morbidity from chronic disease, improving access to mental health services is being prioritized through law and policy. New opportunities are available for states to expand access to their community behavioral health clinics through certification.

Proposed Federal Legislation to Increase Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Despite this epidemic, in 2013 less than 20 percent of all individuals with substance abuse disorder (SUD) received treatment. Congress recently introduced legislation that would require medical practitioners to receive training in pain treatment and substance use issues.

New Resource

Reducing Overdose through Provider Education

Despite the high burden of substance use disorders and the dramatic increase in overdose deaths in the United States, most medical professionals receive little training on pain management, opioid prescribing, and substance abuse prevention and treatment. Recently, however, improving physician education in the areas of appropriate prescribing and effective response to substance use disorder has been identified as a priority for the profession. This new resource examines state and federal efforts to improve substance use disorder treatment through physician education.

Upcoming Webinar

Legal and Policy Options to Improve Oral Health

Poor oral health is associated with a number of diseases, including diabetes, stroke and respiratory disease. The burden of oral disease is unequally distributed, with minorities and low-income people significantly more likely to report oral health problems. This webinar on Thursday, September 17 examines legal and policy approaches to improve oral health, including community water fluoridation, access to care for low-income populations, and expanded scope of practice for dental auxiliaries.

Ask the Experts

Employment Discrimination: Alcohol Use vs Drug Use

Alcohol use and narcotic use are treated differently under employment law. Current users of illegal drugs are excluded from the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, but alcohol users are not. The Network was recently contacted for information about how the laws treat alcohol use, and the accommodations an employer is required to provide for treatment if the alcohol use is deemed a disability.

Federal Policy Update

HHS Proposed Revisions to Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and 15 other Federal Departments and Agencies have announced proposed revisions to modernize, strengthen, and make more effective the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects that was promulgated as a Common Rule in 1991. There are a number of significant changes outlined in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking now on public display.

Public Health Law Research

Registered Nurse Scope of Practice

Registered nurses (RNs) in the United States are licensed medical professionals who can perform medical exams and other duties. As physicians begin to specialize more and more, there will be an increased need for primary care that may be provided by RNs. This LawAtlas dataset identifies variations in state laws that govern the scope of practice for RNs.

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Public Health Lawyer Directory

Need to find a public health lawyer to help answer a question or present on a topic? Use the Public Health Lawyer Directory to find a legal expert from the Network, the CDC Public Health Law Program, the Public Health Law Center, ChangeLab Solutions, Public Health Law Research, or the Public Health Law Partnership.

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