The Role of the Police Power in 21st Century Public Health

Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp. 350-357, 1999

8 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2011  

Edward P. Richards

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Katharine C. Rathbun

Dr-kate.com

Date Written: July 31, 1999

Abstract

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.

Keywords: public health, sexually transmitted diseases, VD, health hold, quarantine, constitutional law, police power, communicable disease, infectious disease

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Richards, Edward P. and Rathbun, Katharine C., The Role of the Police Power in 21st Century Public Health (July 31, 1999). Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp. 350-357, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1899369

Edward P. Richards (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center ( email )

440 Law Center Building
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
United States

HOME PAGE: http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/

Katharine C. Rathbun

Dr-kate.com ( email )

United States

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