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 2018

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This brief presents four case studies of medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) with projects dedicated to assisting those with opioid use or substance use disorder in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Portsmouth (Ohio) and Reno.

  • Case study #1: HOPE Program at Good Samaritan Hospital Faculty Medical Center (Cincinnati) connects with more than 500 pregnant women with OUD and substance use disorder (SUD) annually. The legal partner is the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. “Dr. Michael Marcotte, Medical Director for the HOPE program, says that these women have two main goals: sobriety and parenting, and that these goals are intertwined. He said that their legal needs can directly and indirectly interfere with the stability and support needed to pursue both goals.” (p. 6)
  • Case study #2: Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health (Indianapolis) has two addiction programs that serve both urban and rural populations. The legal partner is Indiana Legal Services. “Since 2014, approximately 25 referrals for patients with SUDs were made for assistance with expunging criminal records, housing, and assistance with custody and other family law issues.” (p. 6)
  • Casey study #3: The Counseling Center (Portsmouth, OH). The legal partner is Southeastern Ohio State Legal Services Association. “During the partnership’s first year, case managers made 119 referrals for MLP services; seventy of those referrals were related to custody or divorce issues. Other referrals were for help reinstating driver’s licenses, sealing criminal records, and preventing housing evictions.” (p. 7)
  • Casey study #4: The MLP at Northern Nevada Hopes (Reno) focuses solely on patients with SUDs. The legal partner is Washoe Legal Services. “During the first month of the MLP’s SUD focus, providers referred 20 patients for assistance with criminal record expungement and resulting housing and employment issues. Additionally, since the program’s inception, 10 patients who are also receiving care through the MAT program were referred for legal services. The MLP regularly hosts Legal Education Clinics that help patients understand potential legal issues related to their recovery, such as criminal record sealing, so that they are better able to find a job and be stably employed” (p. 7)

Categories: Delivery systems (e.g., MLPs), Health, Health, Legal Aid Practitioners, Medical-Legal Partnerships, News Media, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics, Rural, State Comparison, Substance use


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