[Hpn] National - Testimony Invited on Discrimination Against [Homeless] People Needing Treatment - Join Together Online - July 12, 2002

H. C. Covington H. C. Covington" <icanamerica@bellsouth.net
Sat, 13 Jul 2002 13:48:45 -0500

Testimony Invited on Discrimination Against [Homeless] People Needing Treatment
[Discriminatory actions discourage homeless people from seeking treatment by
restricting access to education, housing, employment opportunities, and
appropriate health care.]

by Anara Guard - Join Together Online - July 12, 2002

A national policy panel announces a call for written testimony that will be used
to develop recommendations to address legal and social discrimination against
people with substance use disorders.

The American Bar Association and Join Together, a project of Boston University
School of Public Health, formed a national policy panel, representing a cross
section of the legal and judicial communities, the scientific community, and
policy leaders, to develop recommendations that will address these issues.

The panel will focus on laws, policies, rules, and practices in the workplace,
by insurers, by local, state, or federal government, or in the use of methadone
and other medications that present obstacles to people pursuing recovery and

Examples include:

a Fifth Circuit ruling that people in recovery from alcohol addiction are not
protected by the ADA unless their illness is so extreme that they have
permanent, debilitating conditions that would render them unable to perform the
essential duties of employment; [Most homeless are included here]

insurance policies that deny or restrict coverage for substance abuse treatment;

the Uniform Individual Accident and Sickness Policy Provision, which permits
insurance carriers to reject claims for the care of any injury sustained by an
insured patient who was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time
of the injury;

the "Drug Free Student Aid" provision of the U.S. Higher Education Act, which
denies financial aid only to students with a history of an illegal drug offense;

the 1996 welfare reform provision imposing a lifetime ban on welfare benefits
for people convicted of possessing or selling drugs;

zoning regulations that ban treatment centers or sober housing; [Most homeless
are included here]

a federal code that allows evictions of tenants from public housing if the
tenant, any member of the tenant's household, or any guest engages in
drug-related criminal activity on or off the premises;

a widely-accepted Department of Justice policy to refuse methadone to inmates
addicted to heroin;

treatment programs that require total abstinence from all substances, even those
required for disabling medical conditions; [Most homeless are included here]

drug courts that will not accept defendants who are in methadone treatment.

The panelists invite people to submit testimony for their consideration.

Someone who has experienced discrimination first hand can submit testimony, as
can treatment providers, other health care professionals, employee assistance
professionals, or others who have witnessed discrimination. [Most homeless are
included here]

Testimony should focus on policies that need to be changed, and should offer
recommendations or specific actions for the panel to consider.

Please limit statements to no more than five (5) pages, double spaced, or no
more than 1,250 words.

All documents should include the name of the person submitting the testimony,
his or her role or title (for example: treatment provider, physician, teacher,
parent, person in recovery, person seeking treatment), state of residence, and
email address or other contact information.

Those who would like to remain anonymous are welcome to do so. In those cases,
panelists will be informed of only the submitter's role and state.

Any testimony that is reprinted by Join Together or the American Bar Association
will be in the same format as that given to the panel.

Submissions can be sent to:
Speak Up!, Join Together, One Appleton Street, Fourth Floor, Boston, MA 02116.

Documents can also be emailed to speakup@jointogether.org

Testimony must be received by September 1, 2002.

Join Together also hosts an online forum where anyone can read or post accounts
of delays, discrimination, financial obstacles or other barriers to addiction

To use the forum, please visit: http://www.jointogether.org/speakup

source page:  http://makeashorterlink.com/?A23C15141

H. C. [Sonny] Covington, Editor
Nonprofit Information Specialist

Homeless and Housing News