The Opioid Crisis In America & the Role Medical-Legal Partnership Can Play In Recovery

By: Jay Chaudhary, Kate Marple, and Jillian Bajema. Published by: National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership. Published in March 2018

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In 2016, over 42,000 recorded deaths were by opioid overdose and 2.1 million Americans suffered from an opioid-related substance use disorder(SUD). As of September 2017, only four medical-legal partnerships (MLP) in the United States were dedicated specifically to treating individuals with SUD. This issue brief by the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership examines three case studies in Cincinnati, OH, Indianapolis, IN, and Reno, NV to determine how MLP is aiding SUD victims in their recovery process in this region.

While it is recognized that SUD-focused MLPs are still within their developing stages and do not yet provide concrete data to support their effectiveness, this article emphasizes three key characteristics of SUD-based MLPs:

  1. Legal care should be an integrated, rather than stand-alone, service for people with SUD.
  2. Family law and policy work present significant opportunities for MLP to impact recovery.
  3. Integrated financing and metrics are needed to support MLP moving forward.


Categories: Delivery systems (e.g., MLPs), Health, Health, Individuals with Disabilities, Legal Aid Practitioners, Medical-Legal Partnerships, National, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics, Substance use

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