Justice Department Protects People Taking Medication to Treat Opioid Addiction

    New guidance from the U.S. Justice Department provides protection against discrimination for people taking medication to treat opioid addiction, the Associated Press reports.

    The guidelines state that employers, health care providers and law enforcement agencies that run jails violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they discriminate against people who take medication to treat opioid use disorder (OUD).

    “People who have stopped illegally using drugs should not face discrimination when accessing evidence-based treatment or continuing on their path of recovery,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a news release. “The Justice Department is committed to using federal civil rights laws such as the ADA to safeguard people with opioid use disorder from facing discriminatory barriers as they move forward with their lives.”

    The guidelines give examples of possible ADA violations. These include the Indiana State Board of Nursing denying a nurse the opportunity to participate in a substance use disorder rehabilitation program because she takes medication for OUD, and the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania prohibiting or limiting participants in its court supervision programs from using medication to treat OUD.


    April 2022