April 7, 2022
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yesterday that it has published new guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with opioid use disorder (OUD) who are in treatment or recovery, including those who take medication to treat their OUD. The guidance document, titled The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Opioid Crisis: Combating Discrimination Against People in Treatment or Recovery, is intended to help people with OUD who are in treatment or recovery understand their rights under federal law, and to provide guidance to entities covered by the ADA about how to comply with the law.
As quoted in a DOJ press release on the guidance, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said, "The opioid epidemic continues to pose an extraordinary challenge to communities across our country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this crisis . . . People who have stopped illegally using drugs should not face discrimination when accessing evidence-based treatment or continuing on their path of recovery. The Justice Department is committed to using federal civil rights laws such as the ADA to safeguard people with opioid use disorder from facing discriminatory barriers as they move forward with their lives."