The Role of the Police Power in 21st Century Public Health
Edward P. Richards
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center
Katharine C. Rathbun
July 31, 1999
Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp. 350-357, 1999
The police power is the right of the state to take coercive action against individuals for the benefit of society. The companion article by Potterat, et al, [insert title and correct reference] is a classic use of the police power in the control of a communicable disease, yet one that is increasingly controversial. Reaching an acceptable balance between the rights of society and those of individuals is the central issue facing public health in the next millennium, and the police power is at the center of this balance. This essay reviews the constitutional basis of the police power, its historical use in public health, and the structural reasons why health departments preoccupied with personal health care cannot effectively use the police power to carry out public health enforcement.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: public health, sexually transmitted diseases, VD, health hold, quarantine, constitutional law, police power, communicable disease, infectious disease
JEL Classification: I18Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 2, 2011
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