Network Report


Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Action, Not Rhetoric, Needed to Reverse the Opioid Overdose Epidemic – Q&A

According to the CDC, there were over 33,000 opioid overdose-related deaths reported across the United States in 2015. Corey Davis, deputy director at the Network’s Southeastern Region Office, co-authored the article, “Action, Not Rhetoric, Needed to Reverse Opioid Epidemic.” In this Q&A, Corey discusses his article and how changes to law and policy could dramatically decrease the number of Americans who die each year from opioid addiction and overdose.

Addressing Diaper Need for Low-Income Families

The inability to afford diapers for babies and toddlers is a significant source of stress for low-income families. Gaps in federal safety net programs prevent such programs from addressing this challenge; however, a variety of innovative strategies are emerging as a way to address diaper need. These strategies include state tax exemptions and programs that provide diaper assistance to low-income families.


Legal Interventions to Reduce Overdose Mortality

Opioids (both prescription painkillers and illegal drugs such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) are responsible for over 33,000 overdose deaths in 2015 alone. Overdose is reversible through the timely administration of naloxone and other emergency care. However, access to naloxone has historically been limited by various laws. All 50 states have now amended their laws in order to increase access to naloxone. This resource summarizes laws designed to increase naloxone access, as well as Good Samaritan laws, which encourage people to call for emergency care.

Primer: Emergency Legal Preparedness Concerning Zika Virus

Zika virus infection remains a public health threat both in the U.S. and internationally with tens of thousands of cases confirmed across the U.S. Microcephaly (a condition that causes babies to be born with small skulls and brains) and multiple other disabilities has been linked to pregnant mothers infected with the mosquito-borne virus. This updated primer outlines major public health concerns regarding Zika and discusses legal preparedness and response issues.

Webinars on Public Health Law and Policy

Webinar Series Archive

Network webinars provide practical knowledge on critical and emerging topics in public health law and policy. Recordings of past Network webinars are available on the Network’s website, including the recent Social Determinants of Health Webinar Series focusing on housing, the built environment, transportation and education, and the role of law and policy in addressing health issues in each.

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Marijuana Use among Youth and Medical Marijuana Laws

A county health officer recently contacted the Network regarding the rates of marijuana usage among youth, specifically whether states with medical marijuana laws showed higher rates of use. The Network provided the requestor with data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), as well as two in-depth analyses on youth marijuana use that provide detailed breakdowns on the YRBS and NSDUH.

Worth Sharing

Crafting Richer Public Health Messages for a Turbulent Political Environment

This paper, co-authored by Network Southeastern Region Office Director Gene Matthews and published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, examines the importance of messaging in public health law and policy. According to the article, public health has historically framed “its policy arguments and legal foundations through the lens of liberal values,” which may not speak to the broader audiences necessary to “enhance support for the laws and policies needed to promote the public's health.”

Public Health Law Research

Center for Public Health Law Research (CPHLR) Launches New Website

The Center for Public Health Law Research recently launched a new website,, containing an online catalog of more than 200 evidence-based resources across all of their projects. Based at the Temple University Beasley School of Law, the Center for Public Health Law Research supports the widespread adoption of scientific tools and methods for mapping and evaluating the impact of law on health.

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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.