Advancing Syringe Services in the United States: The Untapped Role of the Americans with Disabilities Act

25 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2022

See all articles by Abigail Fletes

Abigail Fletes

Northeastern University - School of Law

Maria Katherine Delos Reyes

Northeastern University - School of Law

John C. Messinger

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School

Valarie Blake

West Virginia University - College of Law

Leo Beletsky

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences; Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

The United States is facing an unprecedented set of public health challenges. Now killing nearly 1000 people daily, the COVID-19 pandemic is also compounding the ongoing crisis of addiction and risky substance use. Disruption in treatment and support services, economic shocks, despair and social isolation wrought by coronavirus have all impeded efforts to bend the overdose curve—now surging again after a momentary deceleration prior to the onset of the pandemic. By the same token, there is evidence that people with substance use disorder are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection and its deadly sequelae.

Now more than ever, prevention and supportive services are vital to safeguarding the health of people with substance use disorder. Although access to substance use treatment has received substantial attention and support, harm reduction services are being left behind. These vital programs include syringe service programs (SSPs), naloxone distribution, drug checking, and supervised consumption facilities. Intended to address the needs of highly-stigmatized, criminalized people who use illicit drugs, SSPs have been shown especially effective as platforms for stemming bloodborne infections, preventing overdose, and facilitating access to a broad range of assistance, including COVID-19 testing, substance use treatment, housing, and other essential support.

Note:
Funding Information: MISSING

Declaration of Interests: MISSING

Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act, syringe service programs, COVID-19, harm reduction services

Suggested Citation

Fletes, Abigail and Delos Reyes, Maria Katherine and Messinger, John C. and Blake, Valarie and Beletsky, Leo, Advancing Syringe Services in the United States: The Untapped Role of the Americans with Disabilities Act (2022). 2022 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics (Forthcoming), Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 421, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4036666 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4036666

Abigail Fletes

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Maria Katherine Delos Reyes

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

John C. Messinger

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School

United States

Valarie Blake

West Virginia University - College of Law ( email )

101 Law School Drive
Morgantown, WV West Virginia 26506
United States

Leo Beletsky (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-5540 (Phone)

Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

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