PHILADELPHIA, PA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division hosted a roundtable for community organizations, treatment centers, and healthcare providers in order to foster discussion about the nationwide opioid crisis. More specifically, the roundtable focused on the protections afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for individuals using medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as a means to combat their opioid addiction and promote long-term recovery.
Today’s roundtable was part of the Department of Justice’s initiative to remove discriminatory barriers to MAT and to educate local stakeholders about how anti-discrimination laws protect people with opioid use and other substance use disorders. Representatives of dozens of local healthcare groups attended the roundtable event. U.S. Attorney McSwain invited these representatives because they often work with individuals who are addicted to opioids and using MAT as part of their treatment.
U.S. Attorney McSwain, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero, the Civil Rights Coordinator for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Charlotte Lanvers, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., presented to the group and addressed ways in which the ADA can protect individuals from discrimination arising from their use of MAT.
“Locally and nationally, opioid addiction and illegal distribution of opioids continue to be at alarming levels. My Office is committed to stopping criminals from flooding our streets with these deadly drugs, as well as enforcing the ADA’s anti-discrimination protections against those who are lawfully using MAT as part of their addiction recovery plan,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “These two goals are compatible and, in fact, help to reinforce each other.”
People who believe they are being discriminated against with regard to their use of MAT should file complaints with DOJ at https://www.ada.gov/filing_complaint.htm. Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may also file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250, Philadelphia, PA 19106, ATTN: Jacqueline C. Romero, Civil Rights Coordinator.