Episode 67 Resources: Opioid Addiction and the ADA

Speakers: Mike Yow, Fellowship Hall Drug & Alcohol Recovery Center, Kelly Scaggs, Fellowship Hall Drug & Alcohol Recovery Center , Rebbecca Williams, Southeast ADA Center
Original Air Date: April 3, 2019


Fellowship Hall Drug & Alcohol Recovery Center
5140 Dunstan Road
Greensboro, NC 27405
Main: 336-621-3381
Toll Free: 800-659-3381
Fax: 336-621-7513
Website: www.fellowshiphall.com


Audio: SoundCloud ADA Live! Episode 67: Opioid Addiction and the ADA
Web: soundcloud.com/adalive/
ADA Live! Episode 67: Opioid Addiction and the ADA
Web: www.adalive.org/episode67


Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.

In the next two episodes of ADA Live!, we will explore the opioid crisis from a number of different angles -- from treatment to the protections offered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and from the justice system to legal and responsible use of opioids to treat chronic pain.

In the first episode of this series, the focus will be on the treatment for opioid addiction and the protections under the ADA. Rebecca Williams, technical specialist of the Southeast ADA Center, will discuss the protections that people in treatment have under the ADA. Mike Yow & clinical staff of Fellowship Hall will discuss the treatment approach Fellowship Hall uses, applying the Narcotics Anonymous principles and steps. This approach is often considered by professionals in the field of addiction as “the grandfather of treatment.” Fellowship Hall is a private, not-for-profit facility in North Carolina treating adult men and women with substance use disorder. Fellowship Hall has also earned the reputation of being a center of teaching excellence.

Opioid Crisis Resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Other Opioid Crisis Resources and Guidance

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Opioid Portal
    National resources and information from the CDC in response to the opioid overdose epidemic.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control
    Web: www.cdc.gov/opioids/index.html
  • CDC Opioid Overdose Help and Resources
    Source: Centers for Disease Control
    Web: www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prevention/help.html
  • Rural Response to the Opioid Crisis
    This guide will help you learn about activities underway to address the opioid crisis in rural communities at the national, state, and local levels across the country.
    Source: Rural Health Information Hub
    Web: www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/opioids
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. Resources are available in English and Spanish.
    Web: https://www.samhsa.gov/
    Contact information:
    5600 Fishers Lane
    Rockville, MD 20857
    Phone: 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727)
  • Principles of Community-Based Behavioral Health Services for Justice Involved Individuals: A Research-Based Guide (2019)
    This guide provides information and practices that behavioral health providers can implement in their daily practice with patients or clients who are involved in the criminal justice system.
    Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    Web: store.samhsa.gov/product/Principles-of-Community-based-Behavioral-Health-Services-for-Justice-involved-Individuals-A-Research-based-Guide/sma19-5097
  • Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center,
    This website is an online database and resource collection that helps advocates, clinicians, policy-makers, and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices in mental health and substance use disorders into their communities or clinical settings
    Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    Web: www.samhsa.gov/ebp-resource-center
  • Linking Older Adults with Medication, Alcohol, and Mental Health Resources
    This toolkit helps service providers for the aging learn more about mental illness and substance use disorders in older adults, including focus on alcohol and medication use. It provides tools such as a program coordinator's guide, suggested curricula, and handouts. (PDF download, 115 pages; 2017)
    Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    Web: store.samhsa.gov/product/Linking-Older-Adults-With-Medication-Alcohol-and-Mental-Health-Resources/sma03-3824
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in the Criminal Justice System: Brief Guidance to the States
    This brief provides guidance to state governments on increasing the availability of evidence-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in criminal justice (CJ) settings. By including the criminal justice system as a path to treatment, states may see an increase in access to and retention in treatment, and lower rates of overdoses, re-offending, and re-incarcerations. In this brief, states are provided an overview of the issue, the challenges to incorporating MAT, key considerations for establishing MAT in CJ settings, and existing standards/guidelines.
    Download Publication: MAT in the Criminal Justice System | pdf PDF 8 pages (2019) -
    Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    Web: store.samhsa.gov/file/24609/download?token=vNx_c9mr
  • National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week
    This observance (January 22 – 27) is designed to link teens to facts about drugs and alcohol. Take the Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge (available in English or Spanish) and check out the Drugs and Alcohol Chat Day on January 24 for an opportunity to get answers from scientists about drugs and drug misuse, including drug effects, how to help friends or family who are abusing drugs, and what causes addiction.
    Source: NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse
    Web: teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-alcohol-facts-week
  • Webinar Series: Pain Medication Education and Resources [Video]
    Each hour of this three-part webinar series discusses a specific question related to pain medication for those living with spinal cord injuries or another form of physical disability. The first webinar is an introduction to pain medications, understanding types of pain caused by living with paralysis, and the corresponding medications. Future sessions cover opioids, opioid addiction, and opioid tapering options. All webinar sessions are archived on the Reeve Foundation’s YouTube channel for viewing. Note: The audio for each video plays at a low volume, so you may want to turn on the captioning with the CC button.
    Source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center (PRC)
    Web: www.christopherreeve.org
    YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCye9WYwFtdsbRc5FTiyoyDw

Publications from ADA National Network

Substance Use, Employment Rights and the ADA (Title I)

Court Cases Mentioned in Episode 67 of ADA Live!

  • Settlement Agreement between the United States of America and Charlwell Operating, LLC (May 10, 2018)
    The complaint alleges that Charlwell House, which provides skilled nursing services, post-acute medical services, and rehabilitation programs, denied a bed to an individual with opioid use disorder (OUD) because of that individual’s use of Suboxone, which is a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the use of treating OUD.
    Source: U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
    Web: www.ada.gov/charlwell_sa.html
  • Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Selma Medical Associates to Resolve Disability Discrimination Complaint (January 31, 2019)
    The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with Selma Medical Associates, Inc., a privately owned medical facility located in Winchester, Virginia that provides primary and specialty care. The settlement agreement resolves a complaint that Selma Medical refused to accept a prospective new patient for an appointment because he takes Suboxone, a medication to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). The Justice Department determined that Selma Medical regularly turned away prospective new patients who lawfully take controlled substances to treat their medical conditions. Under the agreement, Selma Medical will not deny services on the basis of disability, including OUD, or apply standards or criteria that screen out individuals with disabilities. The agreement also requires Selma Medical to adopt non-discrimination policies, train staff on its non-discrimination obligations, and report on compliance.
    Source: U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
    Web: www.ada.gov/selma_medical_sa.html
  • DOJ Considers Opioid Use Disorder an ADA Covered Disability and Pursues Claims Against a Provider for Refusing Medical Services to Opioid Users
    Source: The National Law Review
    Web: www.natlawreview.com/article/doj-considers-opioid-use-disorder-ada-covered-disability-and-pursues-claims-against

Other Court Cases on Opioid Use

  • Court Orders Essex County to Provide Methadone to Inmate (November 27, 2018)
    Source: Boston Globe
    Web: www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/11/27/court-orders-essex-county-provide-methadone-inmate/iz5GxxfwgKPmi5CNWtNrnK/story.html
  • Settlement Agreement between the United States of America and the State of Louisiana (2018)
    To review the formal complaint and other documents from this case, see “Louisiana Use of Nursing Facilities for People with Mental Health Disabilities” on the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section webpage at https://www.justice.gov/crt/special-litigation-section-cases-and-matters0#disability
    Source: U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
    Web: www.ada.gov/olmstead/documents/louisiana_sa.html
  • Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) - Summary
    This 2016 law address the full continuum of care from primary prevention to recovery support, including significant changes to expand access to addiction treatment services and overdose reversal medications. It also includes criminal justice and law enforcement-related provisions.
    Source: American Society of Addiction Medicine
    Web: www.asam.org/advocacy/issues/opioids/summary-of-the-comprehensive-addiction-and-recovery-act

Information Related to Mental and Behavioral Health, including Opioid Overdose

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is providing this guidance addressing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protections, the obligations of covered health care providers, and the circumstances in which covered providers can share information — as applied to this context. This page can be a one-stop resource for guidance and other materials on how HIPAA applies to mental health and substance use disorder information. It will be updated periodically with additional information.

Articles and Research on Substance Use and Addiction


The contents of this website are developed by the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, with funding from the Southeast ADA Center under NIDILRR Grant Number #90DP0090-01-00 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Southeast ADA Center is a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. 

The information, materials, and/or technical assistance provided by the Southeast ADA Center are intended solely as informal guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and are neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under ADA, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA. The Southeast ADA Center does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained herein. Furthermore, in order to effectively provide technical assistance to all individuals and entities covered by the ADA, NIDILRR requires the Southeast ADA Center to assure confidentiality of communications between those covered and the Center. Any links to non-Southeast ADA Center information are provided as a courtesy, and are neither intended to, nor do they constitute, an endorsement of the linked materials or its accessibility.

NIDILRR is not responsible for enforcement of the ADA. For more information or assistance, please contact the Southeast ADA Center via its web site at ADAsoutheast.org or by calling 1-800-949-4232 (voice) or 404-541-9001 (voice). 

Contact For More Information or Assistance:

Southeast ADA Center
Email: ADAsoutheast@law.syr.edu
Phone: 404-541-9001