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MAT/MOUD Advocacy Toolkit for Front-Line Attorneys

Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), also known as medication assisted treatment, in combination with counseling and psychosocial services, is the evidence-based standard of care for people with OUD. But despite its effectiveness, MOUD access remains limited in many settings. Front-line attorneys can help their clients fight for their right to access this lifesaving medication by ensuring that the law is followed and that policies and practices respect the rights of people with OUD who use MOUD.

Across the country, local communities are using legal advocacy to improve their local health systems’ and providers’ capacity to deliver high quality care to people with OUD. As a result, people who receive treatment are more likely to avoid hospitalizations and incarceration, have stable housing, be employed and achieve employment stability, and be engaged with their children and families.

In addition to a range of other services, the Legal Action Center’s MAT/MOUD Advocacy Toolkit can provide information and resources to help clients fight for their right to access treatment with a medication for their OUD. The toolkit includes an overview of the law regarding a person’s right to take MOUD attorneys in various settings, including correctional facilities. It provides strategies for fighting to prevent a jail or prison from denying an inmate access to their prescribed MOUD, as well as tips on protecting privacy when advocating for the inmate’s right to maintain their medications while in custody.

The toolkit also outlines the right to take MOUD in the workplace, and the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of taking or being diagnosed with a condition that requires MOUD for medical treatment. It discusses key cases, investigations and government settlements/consent decrees involving employment discrimination based on taking or being diagnosed with a condition that is treated with MOUD.

State Laws Regarding MAT/MOUD for Problem-Solving Court Participants

In 2015, the federal government began requiring federally funded problem-solving courts to allow for MOUD as part of their programs (Davies, 2015). However, hundreds of problem-solving courts do not receive federal funding and may not be required to follow these guidelines. In these situations, state laws may promote or discourage MOUD in problem-solving courts.

To understand the state of play in this area, the Legal Action Center analyzed 37 state laws that either prohibited banning or potentially facilitated MOUD access for problem-solving court participants. The table below identifies the relevant legal text and the years in which each law became effective.

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