Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction
The national opioid epidemic began with widespread addiction to, and misuse of prescription painkillers. More recently, illegal drugs such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are responsible for a majority of fatal overdoses. As well, a growing number of states are legalizing marijuana, still considered an illicit drug at the federal level, for medical and adult recreational use. Law and policy can help or hinder harm reduction and overdose prevention measures.
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Removal of the “X-Waiver” Requirement
Legality of Drug Checking Equipment in the United States
Critical Public Health Law and Policy Issues in 2021: The Year in Review
Law and Policy Pathways to Addressing the Epidemic of Drug-Related Harm
Cross-Sector Approach to Removing Legal and Policy Barriers to Opioid Agonist Treatment
Harm Reduction Laws in the United States
Naloxone Prescription Mandates
Harm Reduction Laws in Idaho
Legal Requirements and Tools for Sharing Data with Police Departments to Prevent and Respond to Opioid Overdoses
Characteristics of Statewide Naloxone Distribution Mechanisms
Regulation of Cannabis-Infused Edibles
Legality of Dispensing and Administering Expired Naloxone in Georgia
Legality of Dispensing and Administering Expired Naloxone in the District of Columbia
Legality of Dispensing and Administering Expired Naloxone in Colorado
Legality of Dispensing and Administering Expired Naloxone in Illinois
Legality of Dispensing Naloxone to Minors in Pennsylvania
Legality of Dispensing Naloxone to Minors in Maryland
Harm Reduction Policy in Practice
Opioid-related Public Health Emergency Declarations
Key Public Health Initiatives: A Year in Review
Indian Health Service and Military Medical Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Requirements
Litigation Against Opioid Manufacturers: Lessons from the Tobacco Wars
Fatal Overdose Review Panels
Declared States of Emergency – Opioid Crisis
Overdose Reporting Requirements
Mandatory Drug Stewardship Programs
Legal Interventions to Increase Access to Naloxone in Colorado
Removal of “X-Waiver” Promises Increased and More Equitable Access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
The Network’s Fall Summit: Helping the Public Health Community Navigate the Rapidly Changing Field of Cannabis Law
Federal Court Upholds County’s Ban on Flavored Tobacco
A Closer Look at Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction
The United States remains in the grip of an unprecedented epidemic of drug-related harm. In 2017, over 70,000 Americans were killed by drug overdose, surpassing the number lost at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Opioids, both prescription painkillers and illegal drugs such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, are responsible for most of these deaths.
States and localities have implemented a number of legal and regulatory interventions to address this epidemic. These include the creation and strengthening of prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), drug take-back programs and initiatives to increase access to naloxone, a medication that effectively reverses opioid overdose. States are also taking measures to increase access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment, improve prescriber training, and evaluate whether existing programs are having the desired effect.
Marijuana, which is still considered an illicit drug at the federal level, is legal in 11 states for adults over the age of 21 for recreational use, and legal for medical use in 33 states as of January 2020. A broad spectrum of policy variables must be considered in the legalization of recreational marijuana, including advertising restrictions, personal cultivation regulations, social consumption sites, delivery services, local authority to limit or prohibit recreational marijuana enterprises within their communities, and social equity measures. For medical marijuana, policy questions include how to regulate its recommendation and dispensing, as well as how to register patients approved for medical marijuana use.
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