Substance Abuse

In an effort to save lives, states have implemented laws to make it easier for first responders and the general public to obtain opioid antagonists, such as naloxone. Additionally, to encourage people to assist an individual who is or may be suffering an overdose, the majority of states also enacted laws which protect laypeople who administer opioid antagonists, in good faith, in an emergency from civil and/or criminal liability. The Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA) undertook an extensive research project to determine the current status of opioid antagonist access laws throughout the United States, including the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories. As of August 2020, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of an opioid antagonist access law. ...

The Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA) continues to monitor the emergence of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) appearing on the illicit drug market in the United States. The term “novel” does not denote a brand new, never-before-seen substance but rather a substance that is newly available in the drug market. This fact sheet, the fifth in a series highlighting these dangerous drugs, is an examination of nitazenes....

In this survey, the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA) examines the legislative and regulatory response at the state level to the issue of fentanyl cleanup. As at the federal level, there is little policy in this area, and the only exceptions to that rule are very recent. Findings are presented jurisdiction by jurisdiction for easy comparison among the states....

In this document, the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association examines state-level legislative and administrative responses to the public health risk posed by expired and unused prescription medications. In the last several years, states, in coordination with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have enacted legislation or promulgated administrative regulations to authorize drug take-back programs where expired or unused pharmaceuticals can be collected from the public by authorized persons and disposed of in a safe manner. Findings are presented by state for ease of comparison....

Research indicates that there is often a reluctance among those witnessing an overdose to summon emergency assistance from law enforcement or other first responders out of fear of arrest for drug possession or other charges. In an effort to reduce this fear and to encourage overdose witnesses to seek help, state policymakers developed Good Samaritan laws specific to drug overdoses. The purpose of these laws is to prioritize the overdose victim’s safety over arresting drug users by granting limited protection from criminal liability to persons seeking medical assistance and, in most cases, to the overdose victim. The Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA) recently undertook an extensive research project to determine the current status of Good Samaritan fatal overdose prevention laws throughout the United States, including the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories....

Kratom is an herb derived from a leafy Southeast Asian tree and contains two psychoactive compounds that can bind to opioid receptors in the brain and produce a pharmacological response similar to effects produced by other opioid agonists, such as morphine. As of July 2023, 22 states and the District of Columbia regulate kratom. This document: (1) provides a singular resource for each jurisdiction’s laws; (2) allows for a comparison of these laws between jurisdictions; and (3) identifies and highlights interesting provisions. ...

Syringe services programs (SSP) are harm reduction programs that provide a wide range of services including, but not typically limited to, the provision of new, unused hypodermic needles and syringes and other injection drug use supplies, such as cookers, tourniquets, alcohol wipes, and sharps waste disposal containers, to people who inject drugs. In this summary, readers will find information with respect to SSPs for each state, including citations to applicable statutes and/or regulations, whether the state allows SSPs by statute, whether there are any municipal or county ordinances or regulations in place within the state, program components, miscellaneous provisions, and information on any pending legislation....

This report from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, details guidelines that local government officials, jail administrators, correctional officers, and health care professionals can use in providing effective health care for adults who are sentenced or awaiting sentencing to jail, awaiting court action on a current charge, or being held in custody for other reasons....

Deflection is any collaborative intervention connecting law enforcement, other first responders, and community responders with public health systems to create pathways to treatment and services for individuals—with low to moderate criminogenic risk—who have a substance use disorder, mental health disorder, or co-occurring disorders and who often have other service needs. This fact sheet provides an overview of what deflection is, examples of initiatives utilizing one or more of the six recognized deflection pathways, and a brief description of the status of deflection-related laws in the United States....