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.
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.
President Biden made big headlines by pardoning federal violations of simple cannabis possession, citing that “too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana." But will the decision really move the needle? Scott Burris, Professor of Law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, examines the ripple effects of Biden’s announcement, and dives into the implications of how controlled substances, specifically marijuana, are scheduled by the federal government and states.
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.