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Opioid Use Disorder and MAT Now Covered Under Disability Laws
Many people who live with opioid use disorder worry about stigma and privacy. A recent ruling from the Justice Department describes how opioid use disorder, and therefore, Medication-Assisted Treatment, are protected under disability law. This means that no employer can discriminate against a person getting treatment for the condition in hiring or in the workplace. Firing an employee using Medication-Assisted Treatment is now covered prohibited under disability law. Healthcare providers and state, city or county services including jails are also not allowed to discriminate or prohibit treatment.
Addiction is Considered a Disability
The American Disabilities Act has long covered addiction as a disorder. After all, it changes a person’s brain and causes physical changes in the body. A person getting help for addiction can’t be fired for having the disorder. However, a person who is not getting help and has performed poorly can be fired, even though addiction is considered a disease. Treatment, including therapy and medication, are considered standard treatments for people with opioid use disorder.
Medication-Assisted Treatment is considered the “gold standard” of treatment for people who use opioids. Alongside therapy or other treatment, it has higher rates of success. It has been so successful that OUD has even been prescribed and monitored via telehealth services during the pandemic.
“The opioid epidemic continues to pose an extraordinary challenge to communities across our country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this crisis,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a press release. “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.”
Guidance Clarified for Medication-Assisted Treatment
A new Justice Department Guide describes how people with OUD in treatment or recovery are protected in various settings. For example, employers can’t discriminate against people who have been prescribed Suboxone, even if the employee is subjected to drug testing. The publication is part of the department’s comprehensive response to the opioid crisis, promoting prevention, enforcement, and treatment.
The Justice Department also described several cases where the ADA law was violated and filed lawsuits against the entity. One example was a lawsuit filed against the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania earlier this year, saying that the department isn’t allowing people under state supervision to use medication to treat their opioid use disorder. The case has not yet been decided.
Getting Help for Opioid Use Disorder
If you or somebody you love needs access to help with opioid use disorder, we’re here to help. We’re able to offer addiction treatment services for opioid users through telehealth. We want to help you reclaim your life! Reach out to learn more about our services at 912-295-7246.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.