Category: News

Washington, DC - The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it has published guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with opioid use disorder (OUD) who are in treatment or recovery, including those who take medication to treat their OUD. The publication, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Opioid Crisis: Combating Discrimination Against People in Treatment or Recovery,” is intended to help people with OUD who are in treatment or recovery understand their rights under federal law and to provide guidance to entities covered by the ADA about how to comply with the law.

“The opioid epidemic continues to pose an extraordinary challenge to communities across our country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this crisis,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “People who have stopped illegally using drugs should not face discrimination when accessing evidence-based treatment or continuing on their path of recovery. The Justice Department is committed to using federal civil rights laws such as the ADA to safeguard people with opioid use disorder from facing discriminatory barriers as they move forward with their lives.” 

The guidance document explains how the ADA protects people with OUD who are in treatment or recovery from discrimination in a number of settings, including employment, healthcare and participation in state or local government services and programs. The publication is part of the department’s comprehensive response to the opioid crisis, which promotes prevention, enforcement and treatment.

The Civil Rights Division, together with U.S. Attorneys’ offices, has been working to remove discriminatory barriers to recovery for individuals who have completed, or are participating in, treatment for OUD. Through outreach, technical assistance and enforcement under the ADA, the Civil Rights Division seeks to ensure that those in treatment and recovery can successfully participate in their communities and the workforce. For example: