Confronting a Crisis: An Appraisal of Legislation in Louisiana Combating the Opioid Epidemic

Comment by Jonah Seligman

In this Comment, Jonah Seligman examines Louisiana’s legislative response to the opioid epidemic.  This epidemic, the deadliest drug problem in America’s history, regularly garners national media headlines and has galvanized stakeholders including government officials and private actors who, informed by these proposals, have taken meaningful steps to tackle the problem.  Still, the overdoses mount, demanding timely and innovative solutions.  In contemplating how to address this scourge, it is vital to take stock of the efforts thus far—to assess their successes and shortcomings.  Understanding what has worked, what has not, and why yields lessons that will inform and enrich future law reform discussions. 

This Comment engages in this retrospective enterprise, centering on Louisiana’s response to the crisis.  Part II presents a general background on opioids and the origins and growth of the epidemic in America.  Part III examines recent statutes passed in Louisiana targeting the problem, noting both their practical impact as well as the significant, bipartisan shift in drug policy they represent—away from criminalization and toward a model grounded in the public health approach of harm reduction.  Part IV recommends statutory reforms to cure deficiencies in the recent laws and proposes a new bill that would further minimize the harms of opioid misuse. 

About the Author

J.D. candidate 2019, Tulane University Law School; B.A. 2010, Brandeis University


93 Tul. L. Rev. 147 (2018)