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Opioid Crisis Response Program

The federal government has declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency. It is well recognized that the Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) epidemic cannot be addressed without multi-disciplinary interventions, and lawyers play a critical role in the fight to overcome this public health emergency. Lawyers can decrease barriers to treatment and recovery and improve health outcomes by advocating for the rights of clients to have stable housing, receive financial and medical benefits they are entitled to, and to help keep families safe and together. Lawyers can also collaborate with and educate the community, the justice system, administrative agencies, and social services about cross-system legal impacts to mitigate legal barriers to successful recovery and while leading the charge to systemic change. 

The Equal Justice Works Opioid Crisis Response Program mobilizes lawyers (Attorney Fellows) to provide education and direct civil legal services to OUD-affected communities in need of legal services. This program focuses on removing legal barriers and providing access to wraparound services and treatment for OUD clients in underserved communities. 

Fellows will serve for two years beginning no earlier than September 1, 2024, and ending no later than 24 months from the agreed upon start date. 

Fellowship Overview & Benefits

  • Attorney Fellows earn a salary over the course of their two-year Fellowship term
  • Build capacity at legal service organizations responding to the opioid crisis
  • Build capacity at legal service organizations responding to the opioid crisis
  • Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Training in Washington, D.C.

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Program Impact

  • 93k+ drug overdose deaths were reported in 2020—the highest ever recorded
  • ~88% of deaths resulting from opioid overdoses involved synthetic opioids
  • Through the Opioid Crisis Response Program, we can [...] help promote recovery and stability for individuals, families, and communities. Verna Williams
    CEO, Equal Justice Works
  • 10x more overdose deaths involving opioids were reported in 2021 than in 1999

Have questions or interested in funding?
[email protected]

1 Program Eligibility

Host Organizations must be a nonprofit organization established under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c) and exempt from taxation under 26 U.S.C. §501(a), including tribal nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education). Host Organizations must provide civil legal services in one of the following states: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, or Washington, D.C., to submit proposals to participate as Host Organizations in the Opioid Crisis Response Program.

Attorney Fellows are public interest lawyers working on-the-ground providing free civil legal aid to low-income individuals and families impacted by the opioid and overdose crisis. 

Read the Press Release

Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) Announces $1.4 Million Grant to Equal Justice Works to Launch National Legal Fellowship Program

The Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) today announced it is awarding a grant of $1,361,005 over 30 months to Equal Justice Works to launch a national Opioid Crisis Response Legal Fellowship Program that will address the legal consequences of the opioid crisis. The program will provide intensive education on opioid crisis-related issues to a cohort of early career lawyers who will provide free legal representation to low-income individuals and families affected by the opioid and overdose crisis.

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The Opioid Crisis Response Program is currently funded by the  Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE)

Interested in hosting an Opioid Crisis Response Program Fellow?

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