Recovery Event Calendar
Criminal justice and child welfare agencies often order individuals off medication-assisted treatment (MAT) against their physicians’ recommendations. This practice has occurred for decades, resulting in countless relapses, unnecessary incarcerations, destroyed families, and even deaths. Legal Action Center (LAC) attorneys will explain how to effectively advocate for their individuals’ right to MAT, how treatment providers can serve as expert witnesses, and how to work with LAC to identify test-case litigation challenging these practices. The presenters will discuss relevant laws, advocacy strategies detailed in LAC’s MAT Advocacy Toolkit, and LAC’s ground-breaking report, “Medication-Assisted Treatment in Drug Courts: Recommended Strategies.”
About the Presenters
Melissa Trent is an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern. She joined the Legal Action Center in September 2015 for a two-year fellowship to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction in the criminal justice and child welfare systems. Her fellowship project incorporates impact litigation, education, and direct legal services to ensure that people who need access to life-saving addiction medication will not face discriminatory barriers. Melissa received her B.A. from the University of New Mexico and graduated from Berkeley Law. In law school she did a clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center, helping low income individuals and children with HIV and other disabilities with a variety of legal issues, such as public benefits, education, criminal justice, and housing. She also interned with the ACLU of Northern California where she advocated for pregnant and parenting youth in California’s Central Valley.
Sally Friedman is the Legal Director of the Legal Action Center, a non-profit law and policy organization that fights discrimination against individuals with criminal justice histories, substance use disorders, and HIV/AIDS. Since joining the Center in 1993, Ms. Friedman has litigated numerous anti-discrimination cases, including Innovative Health Systems v. City of White Plains, a federal lawsuit establishing that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits using zoning laws to exclude facilities serving people with disabilities. Ms. Friedman has worked extensively to reduce barriers to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. She authored the 2011 report, Legality of Denying Access to Medication Assisted Treatment in the Criminal Justice System and co-authored the 2015 report, Medication-Assisted Treatment in Drug Courts: Recommended Strategies. Ms. Friedman has conducted dozens of trainings nationwide and written extensively on anti-discrimination and privacy laws. Prior to joining the Legal Action Center, Ms. Friedman worked as a litigation associate at the New York law firm of Kramer, Levin, Naftalis, Nessen, Kamin and Frankel. In 1991, she graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law, and in 1981, graduated phi beta kappa from Brown University.