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Removing the Legal and Policy Impediments to an Effective Opioid Response

November 09, 2023

Many parts of government have an influence on the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder, but these efforts are often poorly aligned, creating barriers to effective collaboration.

With support from FORE, public health law experts from Indiana University McKinney School of Law and the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research at the Beasley School of Law have identified 84 opportunities to align laws and drug policies at the federal, state, and local levels in ways that reduce the risk of overdose and other harms.

“Our federal, state, and local governments are not sufficiently coordinating their efforts, either internally or with each other,” said Nicolas Terry, LLM, Hall Render Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and executive director of the Hall Center for Law and Health. “This is a list of ‘shovel-ready’ legal changes that policymakers can introduce tomorrow to promote effective cross-government action to reduce dangerous opioid use and its human and community toll.”

In developing their recommendations, the experts used a “whole-of-government” approach that seeks to establish vertical and horizontal alignment of agencies, departments, administrations, practitioners, and others. The 84 opportunities are organized in an interactive table available at and are accompanied by six white papers that describe a transformational model for U.S. drug policy.

“This project is filling a critical gap in drug policy work by showing us how policies at different levels and across different sectors can and must work in synergy to reduce overdoses,” said Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, FORE’s President. “We are pleased to support this important initiative that delves into an entire government approach, looking at what is needed to break down silos and produce effective change.”

View the opportunities and reports at