Major Accomplishments

Expanding Access to Care:

2010 Helped win requirement in the Affordable Care Act that Medicaid and private insurance include coverage of substance use disorder and mental health services at parity with other medical and surgical services.

2008 Helped enact the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requiring equal coverage of substance use and mental health care.

1997 – Innovative Health Systems v. City of White Plains.  Established first-in-the-nation precedent that the ADA prohibits discriminatory zoning that excludes facilities serving people with addictions or other disabilities.

1996-2013 Helped generate over $1 billion additional federal funding for alcohol and drug treatment, recovery, prevention and research.

Protecting the Rights of those in Recovery:

2012 – Published 7th edition of Confidentiality and Communications: A Guide to the Federal Alcohol and Drug Confidentiality Law and HIPAA, which has guided substance use programs in protecting patient confidentiality for a quarter century.

1990 Secured civil rights protections for people with alcohol and drug histories in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

1990 – Burka v. NYC Transit Authority. Won class action overturning the TA’s random drug testing policies as unconstitutional.

1986 – Traynor v. Turnage.  Litigated to U.S. Supreme Court and convinced Congress to overturn Veterans Administration classification of alcoholism as “willful misconduct” instead of a disease.

1980 – Rodriguez v. New York City Police Department.  Won class action suit challenging NYPD’s inaccurate drug testing procedures, causing the Department to improve them and reinstate police officers.

1979 – Beazer v. NYC Transit Authority and other cases.  Established the right of people in methadone maintenance treatment to employment under federal Rehabilitation Act and state human rights laws.

Other Notable

Expanding Access to Care 

2018 – Helped establish the New York State Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Healthcare Project (“CHAMP”), an ombudsman program that the New York State Legislature launched in October.  CHAMP helps New Yorkers access mental health and substance use disorder care.”

2011 – Released report, Legality of Denying Access to Medication Assisted Treatment in the Criminal Justice System, which called attention to the widespread discriminatory denial of effective treatment for opioid addiction throughout the criminal justice system. 

2000Smith-Berch, Inc. v. Baltimore County, Md.  Won lawsuit challenging Baltimore’s discriminatory requirement that methadone treatment programs undergo a hearing before locating in the county.  The court ruled that the requirement violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Fighting Stigma and Discrimination 

2000Association for Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment et al., v. New York City Department of Sanitation.  Won sweeping settlement in case challenging the Sanitation Department’s disqualification of sanitation worker applicants with alcohol and drug histories.  Settlement required the Department to individually assess applicants who had alcoholism histories or who had successfully participated in methadone treatment. 

1989 – Doe v. Roe.  Successfully challenged dismissal of employee because of a drug test that could not distinguish between an opiate and a poppy seed bagel.  The court ruled that the employer violated New York State’s Human Rights Law. 

1989Clowes v. Terminix.  Established legal precedent that alcoholism is a protected disability under New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. 

1979Perez v. New York State Division of Human Rights.  Established that a person in methadone maintenance treatment has a protected disability under the New York State Human Rights Law. 

1974Ocasio v. Klassen. Sucessfully challenged the United States Postal Service’s policy of refusing to hire people in methadone maintenance treatment and others in recovery.  LAC’s victory led the Postal Service to change its hiring practices to conform to the federal Rehabilitation Act.

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