The United States currently ranks last among high‑income countries for life expectancy. Since 2014, U.S. life expectancy has declined. By now, these alarming trends are well known to researchers, the public, and policymakers. Nevertheless, there is no consensus among researchers on the causes of the trends, and there has been no serious and effective bipartisan effort to solve the problem. The dominant narrative has implicated Americans’ behaviors, such as smoking, illicit drug use, and suicide; yet, this narrative is misguided and counterproductive.
This essay reflects on 10 years of legal epidemiology, and projects a research agenda for the next decade of work. Mello describes the innovations behind measuring the law, testing its effects, and disseminating discoveries. The essay was adapted from Mello's keynote address at the Center's 10th anniversary symposium in September 2019.
Policy is a powerful tool that can improve health and wellbeing by addressing specific risks or impacting social conditions that are drivers of health and quality of life. But governmental policies can vary immensely from one jurisdiction to another. Surveillance of policies at the local level can help facilitate evidence‑based policy adoption between cities, states, and beyond. This essay highlights the CityHealth model, which has successfully influenced policy change by illuminating the quality and quantity of nine key city policies in the forty most populous U.S. metropolitan areas.
Tables on LawAtlas.org catalog resources tracking emergency declarations, mitigation policies, and other topic-specific resources available at every jurisdictional level related to the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Self-managed abortion has improved access to safe and effective abortions. While the practice is on the rise around the world, many countries impose significant legal restrictions on abortion access. These laws regulate various aspects of abortion, including: the grounds upon which individuals are permitted to obtain an abortion; who may provide an abortion; the tests that health professionals are required to administer before an abortion may be provided; and where an abortion is legally permitted to take place.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) uses medications, such as Methadone, in conjunction with behavioral therapy and counseling to treat opioid addiction. MAT with methadone is required to be distributed to individuals through an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP). MAT with methadone for opioid addiction is subject to federal law, with specific requirements such as physician evaluations, toxicology testing, counseling, and treatment planning. Some states go beyond what is required by the federal law and place stricter restrictions on OTPs, while other states simply defer to the federal law.