Celebration of Recovery from Alcohol or Drug Addiction
Addiction and Public Policy

The Addiction and Public Policy Initiative works to advance a public health approach to substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic through policies, practices, and regulations that promote evidence based treatment and recovery.

Featured Event

Applying the Evidence: Legal and Policy Approaches to Address Opioid Use Disorder in the Criminal Justice and Child Welfare Settings

In collaboration with Business for Impact, the O’Neill Institute is hosting a convening of policymakers; experts in addiction treatment, harm reduction, health care and law; people with lived experience; and leaders in law enforcement and criminal justice from across the country to discuss successful models for increasing access to evidence-based treatment and medication in the criminal justice and child welfare systems. This event will be a forum for people to learn and to make connections that will help implement programs in local communities to reduce overdose deaths and improve community health and well-being, as well as to advance a public health approach to substance use disorders.

Featured Projects

Infectious Disease Consequences of the Opioid Epidemic

In collaboration with the National Governors Association, the O’Neill Institute has produced two publications that can inform other governors’ efforts to prevent infectious disease outbreaks among people who inject opioids and other illicit drugs. Addressing the Rise of Infectious Disease Related to Injection Drug Use: Lessons Learned from Kentucky provides considerations for expanding comprehensive harm reduction, with a focus on the cross-sector partnerships that have been central to Kentucky’s efforts. State Approaches to Addressing the Infectious Disease Consequences of the Opioid Epidemic: Insights from an NGA Learning Lab highlights examples from the seven learning lab states and offers considerations for governors seeking to expand public health surveillance and comprehensive harm reduction.

Drug Courts

This project will explore opportunities to increase access to evidence-based treatment in drug courts through policy and legislative changes, training and education. Efforts will include: examining strategies to ensure that drug courts permit individuals to access medications to treat opioid use disorder; drafting model legislation that states may adopt to enhance access to opioid treatment medications for drug court clients; and identifying opportunities to provide information and technical assistance to courts about evidence-based treatment.

Correctional Institutions

Substance use disorder is highly prevalent among individuals in the criminal justice system. Treating opioid use disorder with methadone, buprenorphine, or extended-release injectable naltrexone is considered an evidence-based best practice for treating opioid dependence; however, it is still difficult to access these medications in criminal justice settings. This project will explore opportunities to increase access to opioid treatment medications in jails and prisons through an examination of individual cases and impact litigation in this area, review of implementation of relevant federal laws, the development of model legislation for States, and identification of opportunities to leverage efforts related to treatment of infectious diseases such as HCV and HIV in correctional settings.

Child Welfare System

This project will focus on identifying policies and practices that can advance access to evidence based treatment for pregnant and parenting women with opioid use disorder who are involved in or at risk of becoming involved in the child welfare system.