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Addiction and the Law

Elie G Aoun. M.D., Debra A. Pinals, M.D., and Laurence Westreich, M.D.

  • 2025
  • 0 Pages
  • ISBN 978-1-61537-401-4
  • Item #37401
Coming July 2024!

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The risk factors and consequences of substance use disorders (SUDs), always a large part of the social discourse, have become even more prominent with the opioid crisis in the United States. Given our greater awareness of the links between SUDs and other mental illnesses, psychiatry and medicine have been developing new, less moralistic approaches to treat SUDs. Meanwhile, patients continue to run up against a legal system that can be morally inflexible. Clinicians must promote the best treatment for their patients while also being aware of consequences in the legal realm.

That's what makes Addiction and the Law such a necessary resource. This new book examines the many intersections between SUDs and the law—arrest, incarceration, and employment among them—helping readers navigate the overlap between the medical management of addictive disorders and the current legal framework.

In four exhaustive sections, the book covers crucial issues in treating SUD patients:

  • The philosophy behind how the legal system has traditionally approached SUDs, and how it has informed recent trends in decriminalization, the legal regulation of substance use, and the treatment of SUDs.
  • Civil issues that include the interplay of SUDs and the Americans with Disabilities Act; the basis of drug and alcohol testing; child custody and welfare issues; personal injury cases; and professional malpractice.
  • The legal standards used in SUD-related criminal case evaluations; interventions such as pre-arrest diversion, drug courts, and reentry services; and the treatment of SUDs in jails and prisons.
  • Special topics, including cannabis legalization, changes to the regulation of buprenorphine during COVID-19, and the legal regulation of therapeutic hallucinogenic substances.

      This guide features key points at the end of each chapter and tables throughout that help readers quickly access its evidence-based information. Readers will achieve a better understanding of the legal and regulatory issues that may affect their practice and be better positioned to more effectively assist their patients.

  • Contents

    • Section I: Introduction and Overview
    • Chapter 1. Substance Use Disorders in the Context of Law and Society
    • Chapter 2. Legal Regulation of Substances and Legal Issues in Substance Use Disorder Treatment
    • Chapter 3. Legal Structures for Treating Patients with Addictions
    • Section II: Civil Issues
    • Chapter 4. Employment Law and Addiction
    • Chapter 5. Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Legal Sphere
    • Chapter 6. Addictions in Pregnancy, Family and Divorce
    • Chapter 7. Practical Aspects of Civil Case Evaluations Involving Substance Use Disorders
    • Section III: Criminal Issues
    • Chapter 8. Criminal Case Evaluation in Substance Use Disorders
    • Chapter 9. Substance Use Disorders and Specialty Courts, Jail Diversion or Alternatives to Incarceration
    • Chapter 10. Substance Use Disorders in Correctional Systems
    • Section IV: Special Topics
    • Chapter 11. Special Topics in Law and Addiction

    About the Authors

    Elie G. Aoun, M.D., M.R.O., is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry in the Division of Law, Medicine, and Psychiatry at Columbia University.

    Debra A. Pinals, M.D., is a clinical adjunct professor and director of the Program in Psychiatry, Law, and Ethics at the University of Michigan Law School and clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School.

    Laurence M. Westreich, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of patients dually diagnosed with addiction and mental disorders.

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