Legal Prescription

ALRT's Exploration of Addiction, Law, and Medicine

Month: June 2019

Stigmatizing Stigma? Handling Exclusionary Language with Care

By J. Alexander Short

Learning about the modern opioid epidemic can be overwhelming, to say the least. When I first began reading and writing about this topic, I had no idea there were linguistic rules. For one, it is substance use, not substance abuse. Additionally, the phrase ‘person with an addiction’ is far preferable to ‘addict’. That makes sense. In fact, whether it should be called the opioid epidemic, the opioid crisis, or something else might change depending on who you talk to. 

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Dickinson Law’s Addiction Legal Resource Team Launches New Website

By Matthew J. Lawrence & J. Alexander Short

The Addiction Legal Resource Team is a group of Penn State Dickinson Law students and faculty who work together to disseminate resources for those who are affected by substance use disorder. The team concentrates on the legal aspects of addiction with a focus on access to treatment. Led by Matthew Lawrence, assistant professor of law at Dickinson Law and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Penn State College of Medicine, the group of Dickinson Law students work to develop and disseminate legal resources, promote informed policy making, and facilitate scholarly research.

Last summer, the team worked together to compile legal resources for six states particularly affected by the modern opioid crisis. So far in their work, ALRT has worked with many partners. ALRT project supporters and collaborators beyond Dickinson Law include Parity at 10, the Penn State Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse, Partnership for Drug Free Kids, Legal Action Center, Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, Partnership for Better Health PA’s Opioid Prescribing Task Force, and Penn State College of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences and Department of Surgery.

This summer, the team hopes to expand their impact even further. On June 24, 2019, the Addiction Legal Resource Team is unveiling a new website. The website, Legal Prescription, will serve as a hub for all things relating to the crossroads of the law, healthcare, and policy. The site, which is already online, will feature blogs, news, interviews, and legal resources. 

The group is also launching a monthly feature called the “Advocate of the Month”, inspired by Dickinson Law Entrepreneurship Blog’s Entrepreneur of the Month. This feature will honor individuals whose work makes a positive difference for individuals affected by addiction. The website will allow the work of the ALRT to reach more people as well as allow the team to interact with a wider community of advocates and scholars compiled or prepared by ALRT members and guests in Pennsylvania and nationwide.

ALRT can also be found on Twitter at and can be reached at

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