Ending the War on People with Substance Use Disorders in Health Care

Posted: 4 May 2021 Last revised: 29 Jul 2021

See all articles by Kelly K. Dineen

Kelly K. Dineen

Creighton University School of Law

Elizabeth Pendo

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Abstract

Earp et al. (2021) provide a robust justification for the decriminalization of drugs based on the systemic racism that fuels the “war on drugs” and the ongoing harms of drug policies to individuals. The authors’ call for decriminalization is a necessary but insufficient step in addressing the entrenched structural, institutional, and individual discrimination that leads to the inequitable and unjust treatment of people with substance use disorder (PWSUD). Nothing short of robust enforcement of existing legal protections and sweeping legal reforms in the regulation of addiction treatment, controlled substances, health care finance, and civil rights law will be adequate to achieve equity and remedy the malignant injustice in this area. This commentary addresses the widespread subrogation of PWSUD in the health care system, which is characterized by the disempowerment, disparagement, and sometimes outright abandonment of patients—a persistent pattern of mistreatment that would spark outrage and condemnation for people with any other health condition.

Keywords: health care, health discrimination, substance use disorder, SUD, health disparities, opioid use disorder, OUD, medication for opioid use disorders, MOUD

JEL Classification: I1, ,I11, I14, I13, I14, I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Dineen, Kelly K. and Pendo, Elizabeth, Ending the War on People with Substance Use Disorders in Health Care. 21(4) Amer. J. Bio. 20 (2021), Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2021-19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3833160

Kelly K. Dineen

Creighton University School of Law ( email )

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States

Elizabeth Pendo (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
(314) 977-2767 (Phone)

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