The Public Health Law Program provides selected resources for public health practitioners and their legal counsel.
State Laws on Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse
The United States is experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of prescription drug overdose deaths. The primary responsibility to regulate and enforce prescription drug practices falls to the states. State laws are often used to prevent various injuries, with demonstrated benefits, yet little information exists about the effectiveness of state statutes or regulations designed to prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion. The following menus summarize some of the legal strategies states have used to address prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose. The Public Health Law Program created the menus in partnership with CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
- Menu of State Prescription Drug Identification Laws [PDF 323KB]
An inventory of various provisions in state prescription drug identification laws, including laws requiring patients to show personal identification to pharmacists before receiving prescription drugs
- Menu of Pain Management Clinic Regulation [PDF 235KB]
An inventory of state legal strategies to help assess pain management clinic laws
- Menu of State Laws Related to Prescription Drug Overdose Emergencies [PDF 176KB]
An inventory of emergency laws that grant people who call 911 in response to an overdose emergency either immunity from prosecution or mitigation in prosecution or at sentencing
Interactive Website on State Prescription Drug Laws
- Prescription Drug Overdose: State Laws, a website developed by CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and CDC’s Public Health Law Program, offers an overview of seven types of state laws designed to prevent the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs and highlights which US states have enacted them. This inventory depicts some of the legal and regulatory strategies states are using to address the epidemic.
Disclaimer: Information available on this website that was not developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not necessarily represent any CDC policy, position, or endorsement of that information or of its sources. The information contained on this website is not legal advice; if you have questions about a specific law or its application you should consult your legal counsel.
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