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.
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.
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.
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.