Opioid Epidemic - Political and Policy Lessons

from the United States in Responding to the Opioid Epidemic
Thursday, 14 November 2019 - 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Contact information
Contact person: 
Anna Bogic
Registration required: 
Cost to attend: 
Free of charge
Event language: 
Event sponsors: 
Fulbright Canada. Ottawa Hub for Harm Reduction. University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics

Both the United States and Canada have seen an explosion in opioid-related overdoses and other public health consequences. While the opioid epidemic has affected other industrialized countries, its impact has been particularly devastating to our two countries. Indeed, earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump put aside animosity from trade disputes to pledge to work together on this shared crisis. While there was criticism about the lack of focus on opioids in the recent Canadian election, the opioid epidemic in the United States has a large role in American politics and policymaking, resulting in some of the only bipartisan healthcare legislation passed in the current political environment. This presentation will offer a general overview on the American approach to the opioid crisis and its effect in health policy and criminal justice issues. Additionally, it will focus on one policy approach in the United States as a case study on federalism: prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). But while PDMPs have a role in harm reduction, there are concerns that their use can lead to a “chilling effect”: government officials may want to utilize PDMP data not only for public health but also for law enforcement. This conflict is playing out as the Trump administration seeks to influence state PDMP operations but also as it seeks to force a state PDMP to grant access to federal law enforcement.

Oliver Kim is a Fulbright Scholar at the Centre on Governance (UOttawa).

Lunch provided at 11:30 am. Talk begins at 12:00 noon.