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Lawyers For Opioid Discrimination Can Help

The United States is in the middle of an opioid crisis, and many people are suffering discrimination because of it. In the workplace, for example, people who use or have used drugs or alcohol in the past are at risk of being discriminated against. Luckily, there are laws in place to help protect these individuals. However, those laws can be difficult to understand and interpret. Fortunately, there are lawyers for opioid discrimination who can help.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued a pair of guidance documents that address issues related to employees with opioid-related disabilities. While these documents don’t have the legal force of law, they can provide employers with insight into the EEOC’s position and expectations regarding treatment for opioid addiction.

For example, the EEOC’s new guidance states that an employer cannot refuse to hire or fire someone who has an underlying disability that is related to their drug or alcohol use or because of an illegal drug test result. Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer to ask a job applicant or current employee about their previous or current drug or alcohol use.

These guidelines are just the latest move by the federal government to address discrimination against people with OUD, especially those who take medication for OUD. This year alone, the Justice Department has reached settlements and filed lawsuits alleging OUD discrimination in a wide range of settings, from courts to schools to businesses.

Despite these efforts, many people continue to be treated unfairly. For instance, in one case, a Massachusetts nursing home was accused of discriminating against residents by not allowing them to take medications for OUD. This is despite the fact that these individuals have been diagnosed with OUD and that the medications can prevent them from engaging in drug-using behaviors, curb withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and significantly decrease the risk of overdose death.

The ADA and other civil rights laws protect individuals with OUD from lawyer for opioid discrimination in the workplace, at housing developments, by police departments, and by medical and family regulatory agencies. Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice is a leader in the National Prescription Opioid Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), where he serves as co-lead counsel and member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.

In addition to this MDL, Motley Rice is also litigating on behalf of clients who have experienced OUD discrimination in state and local court systems and other settings that are supposed to help them. In a recent Spotlight PA article, former Jefferson County drug court participant Sonya Mosey described how she was denied access to her prescribed medication for OUD as part of her probation. Mosey’s complaint led to a settlement that requires the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania and individual counties to allow drug court participants to take their lawfully prescribed medication for OUD, including buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. The agreement will also pay compensation to the individuals harmed by these restrictions. Click here for more information. Sally is a nationally recognized expert on the legal right to treatment with medications for OUD and has written extensively about this topic.

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