chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Opioid Summit II: Addressing Legal Barriers to Addiction Care and Treatment | May 13-14, 2021

Opioid Summit II was co-sponsored by the ABA Senior Lawyers Division, American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The Summit brought together the presidents of the ABA, AMA, and ASAM; 14 ABA sections, divisions, standing committees, and commissions as co-sponsors; and 35 of the leading national experts on the crisis.

The goal of the Summit was to find legal and medical legal solutions focused on ending the nation’s opioid epidemic. It built on the Senior Lawyers Division’s 2018 Opioid Summit which examined the extent of the crisis and built awareness of its seriousness to American families and the legal profession. Opioid Summit II focused on ending the crisis by exploring legal and medical issues in addressing the epidemic; criminal enforcement and the line between care and criminalization; a strategic look at ending the epidemic; the impact of the structural discrimination on marginalized populations with substance use disorder; and recommendations for ending the epidemic. The Summit’s goal was on finding legal solutions to improve treatment of people with substance use disorders, whether by creating new laws or by amending or simply enforcing existing laws.

Recommendations from the Summit are being prepared, along with a detailed report, to support a resolution for the ABA House of Delegates 2022 Midyear Meeting and for the governing bodies of the AMA and ASAM.

Opioid Summit II Documents:


  • ABA Senior Lawyers Division
  • American Medical Association
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine

ABA Co-Sponsors

  • Center for Professional Responsibility
  • Center on Children and the Law
  • Commission on Disability Rights
  • Commission on Law and Aging
  • Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs
  • Criminal Justice Section
  • Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division
  • Health Law Section
  • Section of Intellectual Property Law
  • Section of State and Local Government Law
  • Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division
  • Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services
  • Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigents Defense

May 2018 Opioid Summit: Experienced Lawyers, American Families, and the Opioid Crisis

For the first time, an Opioid Summit was convened as a collaborative effort of ABA and non-ABA entities to address the opioid crisis permeating our country.  Led and organized by the Senior Lawyers Division, the Summit entitled “Experienced Lawyers, American Families, and the Opioid Crisis” was held at the ABA Headquarters in Chicago on Friday, May 4, 2018. 

The Summit brought together a multidisciplinary group of experts from a range of legal areas for a holistic approach to the opioid crisis.  The Summit involved 30 people from ABA entities and non-ABA organizations, 5 nationally recognized speakers, 17 leaders of the Senior Lawyers Division, as well as 6 ABA staff members and 2 volunteer law students as recorders. 

In May 2018, the Senior Lawyers Division held their Opioid Summit: an effort to bring colleagues, experts, and experienced attorneys together to discuss and disperse information on ways to combat the opioid crisis. Written by Dr. Mary Carter, this report is the efforts of this group and includes information regarding the history of the crisis and--most importantly--how we can work to end it. 

The final report of the Summit recommendations can be found below as well as attached to Resolution 108.

HOD Resolution 108

While the ABA in the past has adopted resolutions addressing attorney well-being, the Summit’s planners used the Opioid Summit’s report and recommendations to collaborate with other ABA entities to develop a policy resolution addressing the opioid crisis. It was filed by the Senior Lawyers Division on November 14, 2018.  The resolution (108) was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates during the ABA Midyear Meeting on January 28, 2019.

View the resolution here.>>

Recommendations and Transcripts

We are pleased to share the following recommendations from the 2018 Opioid Summit as well as the transcripts of the presentations, powerpoints, and referenced materials.

Opioid Summit Documents


Presentation Transcripts

Related Resources

Additional resources related to the opioid crisis produced by the Senior Lawyers Division: