Substance Abuse

The restaurant industry has been particularly impacted by the opioid epidemic with, for example, ten percent of food service workers dying from opioid overdoses in the State of Delaware.[1] This sobering statistic prompted the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) to launch the Restaurant Accolade Program (the Program), which trains all restaurant staff and owners in the state on how to identify, respond to, and reverse an opioid overdose and helps food establishments draft policies that support employees and patrons with substance use disorders (SUDs). The Office of Health Crisis Response (OCHR) within DPH conducts the training and education....

In September 2021, Georgetown University Law Center convened an Opioid Litigation Summit. This convening brought together numerous experts to discuss legal, administrative, and programmatic strategies needed to optimize the impact of proceeds from the opioid litigation. The themes described in this brief emerged from the Summit and can be applied to the opioid litigation as well as future mass tort litigation to address public health crises....

When Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro learned that approximately 15 citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania die each day from an overdose, he took action. As a result, in May of 2018, he launched the Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative (LETI) to connect individuals suffering with a substance use disorder (SUD) to treatment resources....

The Model Law Enforcement and Other First Responder Deflection Act, drafted in collaboration with the Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative (PTACC), encourages the use and establishment of deflection programs on the state level. Specifically, the model act (1) authorizes law enforcement and other first responders to develop and implement collaborative deflection programs that provide proactive policing to assist individuals who are at risk; (2) offers pathways to treatment, recovery services, housing, medication for addiction treatment, whole family services, and other needed supports; (3) requires deflection programs to have certain threshold elements to be eligible to receive grant funding; and (4) requires agencies establishing deflection programs to develop comprehensive memoranda of understanding in conjunction with, and agreed to by, all deflection program partners....

“Stigma” is defined as stereotypes or negative views attributed to a person or groups of people whose characteristics or behaviors are viewed as different from, or inferior to, societal norms. Surveys of public attitudes about various stigmatizing conditions indicate that individuals with a substance use disorder are viewed more negatively than individuals with a mental disorder. This report, released in collaboration with Rulo Strategies LLC, explores efforts to reduce stigma towards individuals with a substance use disorder in public safety and justice settings....

The 2022 AMA-Manatt Toolkit builds on a previously published roadmap by providing actionable resources that states can use to take specific actions in six policy areas: (1) Increase access to evidence-based treatments to help patients with a substance use disorder (SUD); (2) Ensure access to addiction medicine, psychiatry, and other trained physicians; (3) Enforce mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) parity laws; (4) Improve access to multidisciplinary, multimodal care for patients with pain; (5) Expand harm reduction efforts to reduce death and disease; and (6) Improve monitoring and evaluation....

The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University recently released a three-part report about the multi-district opioid litigation that has been making its way through the court system for many years. Part 1 of the trilogy, focuses on a series of principles governing the use of the settlement funds: (1) spending money to save lives; (2) using evidence to guide spending; (3) investing in youth prevention; (4) focusing on racial equity; and (5) developing a fair and transparent process for deciding where to spend the funding....

The Model Syringe Services Program Act (Act) authorizes the establishment of comprehensive syringe services programs, which are associated with a decrease in bloodborne infectious disease diagnoses as well as the number of needlestick injuries to first responders and others. This Act delineates the required components for syringe services programs operating within a state, including that such programs (1) directly provide, or offer referrals to, expanded services, such as substance use disorder treatment, including medications for addiction treatment, HIV and viral hepatitis testing and treatment services, access to opioid antagonist kits, health care services, and mental health services; (2) reduce needlestick injuries to law enforcement, emergency services personnel, sanitation workers, and members of the community; (3) provide data collection and reporting requirements for syringe services programs; (4) provide immunity from criminal arrest, charge, and prosecution for the possession, distribution, or furnishing of hypodermic needles and syringes and other supplies; (5) provide educational and training materials for members of the community, including law enforcement and other first responders, such as emergency medical services; and (6) provide for funding of syringe services programs....