A new dataset offers an overview of the varying state laws governing syringe service programs (SSPs), which in many communities have become a crucial component of the public health response to the opioid crisis.
The LawAtlas.org resource is intended to help policy-makers make a business case for initiatives that have been shown to enhance community health, according to the Trust for America's Health and the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University's Beasley School of Law.
The SSP dataset shows that 31 states have laws that explicitly authorize such programs, up from 18 states that had these laws in August 2014. Three of the states—Colorado, Georgia and Ohio—require the programs to provide screenings for HIV and hepatitis.
“Despite evidence-informed recommendations from the CDC, SSP authorization in the United States remains incomplete and uneven,” the introduction to the dataset states. “Some states have laws that explicitly authorize SSPs, while others have a patchwork of pre-existing laws that leads to the perception that SSPs are illegal.”
A dataset on tobacco pricing and taxation also has been released. In all, 13 of these resources are planned under the initiative.