Network Report



Q&A with Mathew Swinburne
Network Staff Attorney

As we prepare for the 2018 Public Health Law Conference featuring sessions focused on health justice, Network attorneys reflect on their work and what health justice means to them.


Law and Policy Perspectives:
Supervised Consumption Spaces as a Harm-Reduction Strategy During the U.S. Opioid Crisis

Supervised consumption spaces (SCS) provide safe spaces where persons can consume opioids under the supervision of licensed medical professionals. SCS have proven effective at reducing overdose deaths in those countries where they have been studied. In the U.S., SCS face legal challenges that statewide legal reforms (or in some cases, emergency declarations) seek to address.


Table: Infant Safe Sleep Laws

This table provides a brief overview of statutory and regulatory provisions related to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) prevention in Colorado, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Delaware. The jurisdictions were selected based on initial research on the comprehensiveness of state legal approaches to SUID prevention.


Litigation Against Opioid Manufacturers: Lessons from the Tobacco Wars

March 15, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. EST

Dozens of state, local, and tribal governments have sued opioid pain reliever (OPR) manufacturers for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic, and 41 state attorneys general are investigating potential unlawful practices by OPR manufacturers. Although these investigations and lawsuits appear similar to those against the tobacco industry during the 1990s, states should be mindful of the important ways in which OPR litigation differs from tobacco litigation. The webinar presenters will discuss how the regulatory environment for OPRs versus cigarettes might impact harm reduction efforts; and the successes, shortcomings and unintended consequences of the tobacco litigation.


Legal Technical Assistance Highlight:
Administration of Medical Marijuana on School Grounds

A requester from Maryland contacted the Network with questions regarding how school systems in the state might handle students who are taking medical marijuana. The requester asked if parents are required to notify the school about their child’s use of medical marijuana, whether the school nurse would be responsible for administrating it, and what liability issues, if any, the school would have. 

Worth Sharing:
Soil Vapor Intrusion Dataset on LawAtlas

A new dataset released on shows the variation in laws that address soil vapor intrusion. Soil vapor intrusion is the process of underground chemicals (naturally-occurring or man-made) moving into buildings occupied by residents or workers. To protect the public health and promote worker safety, states have enacted laws, regulations, and/or policy standards that require mitigation or remediation of soil vapors that enter buildings.

Report by Trust for America's Health Finds Spending on Public Health Insufficient

According to a report by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH), the CDC’s core budget—not including the Prevention and Public Health Fund—has been essentially flat for the last decade. Spending for public health by states has also been declining and is lower than it was in 2008-2009. TFAH’s CEO, John Auerbach, says persistent underfunding, including cuts in core federal emergency preparedness funding, has left the nation vulnerable.


Thank You!
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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.