Is Addiction a Disability Under the ADAAA and State and Local Laws?

Robert J. O’Hara and Anastasia A. Regne, attorneys in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, co-authored the whitepaper “Is Addiction a Disability Under the ADAAA and State and Local Laws?”

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):

More Americans are taking drugs, both legal and illegal. First, the increase in the availability and use of opioid pain relievers has led to the United States’ entrenchment in an opioid epidemic. In 2017, the United States Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. The statistics concerning the opioid crisis are astounding:

  • A National Center for Health Statistics survey found that in 2018 and 2019, more than an estimated 130 Americans died of opioid-related drug overdoses each day;
  • A 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 10.3 million Americans misused prescription opioids in 2018;
  • A November 2018 National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief found that 47,600 Americans died from overdosing in opioids; and
  • In 2018, 2 million Americans had an opioid use disorder.

Second, there is growing acceptance and availability of marijuana throughout the United States. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health3 found that 7.9% (16.8 million) of adults age 26 and older are current marijuana users – almost double the number reported in 2002.

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