Public Health and law are interwoven, shaping how communities interact and people experience the world around them. Legal mapping is the scientific process of analyzing state laws concerning a particular legal topic at either a particular point in time (cross-sectional) or its change over a period of time (longitudinal). This page features ASTHO’s legal mapping work to plot the legal landscape for public health priorities, beginning with policies intended to prevent overdose.
Unintentional drug overdose is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Some states have enacted "Good Samaritan" laws that create immunities or other legal protections for people who call for help in the event of an overdose to encourage and protect bystanders who may otherwise not be willing to call for fear of being arrested for drug-related crimes. The protection afforded by these laws varies from state to state.
Coverage expansion for Medicaid improves access to care and health outcomes for people with substance use disorder (SUD). In spite of that evidence, as of May 2023, 10 states have failed to expand Medicaid funding to low-income adults as emergency enrollment protections established for COVID-19 end. This coverage gap in the non-expansion jurisdictions denies access to care to more than 1.9 million people living in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
To mitigate the risks associated with prescription opioid use, most states have implemented laws requiring clinicians to obtain informed consent prior to prescribing opioids in at least some circumstances. Informed consent is defined as a communication between a patient and clinician in which the patient agrees to a medical intervention after being informed of the risks, benefits, and alternatives.
State laws setting the scope and limits of emergency authority are crucial to an effective public health response. This suite of legal data captures details of legislation that addresses emergency health authority introduced between January 1, 2021, and May 20, 2022, in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.
This dataset presents state-level statutes and regulations on prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) laws covering reporting requirements, mandates requiring providers to check PDMP databases before prescribing controlled substances, and provisions regulating access.
On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned nearly 50 years of precedent protecting the right to an abortion prior to viability. Under Roe v. Wade, the legal landscape of abortion was a complex patchwork of state laws and court decisions regulating access to the procedure. The Dobbs decision further compromised abortion access by allowing states to ban all or most abortions.
To mitigate morbidity and mortality associated with prescription opioids, most states have implemented limits on opioid analgesic prescribing. Approaches vary, but these laws generally restrict the duration of an opioid prescriptions by the number of days supplied. Some states additionally limit the daily dosage or total dosage allowed in opioid prescriptions.
This dataset presents state-level statutes and regulations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia in effect between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2019.
This research collected Financial Assistance Policies and related debt collection policies from a representative sample of 75 340B hospitals to better understand financial support for pharmaceuticals for low-income populations.