A project of the Institute for Human Centered Design
December 2020 Newsletter
ADA Question of the Month
Question: I have been in recovery from opioids for three years after entering treatment, which includes a daily dose of Suboxone. I was sent to jail for robbing a convenience store. When I got to the county jail, I gave the staff my doctor’s prescription for Suboxone. The Sheriff is concerned about the safety risk of administering Suboxone in jail because other inmates could access the drug. Does the staff have to give my prescribed medicine?

The answer is at the end of the newsletter.
COVID-19 Updates
America at a Glance: Early Fears Realized as COVID-19 Surges in Rural Counties
Blue hospital direction sign in the foreground with open fields with round hay bales in the background
COVID-19 has arrived in rural America, and the worst outbreaks in October were in counties with populations less than 50,0001. Risks and impacts of COVID-19 are not distributed evenly. This is especially true for people with disabilities and rural residents who face significant challenges to accessing healthcare. Additionally, rural residents are less likely to follow public health recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. To illustrate the growing COVID-19 strain on healthcare, researchers mapped the difference between expected need for ICU beds and local availability.

Image source: image courtesy of South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations.
New England ADA Center's COVID-19 Webpage
New England ADA Center IHCD Combined Graphic
People with disabilities have a right of participation in society even during a pandemic. We have collected resources to help people understand their ADA rights during the pandemic. Read more about how the ADA relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional News
Rhode Island Governor's Commission on Disability (GCD) Continues ADA 30th Celebrations with Podcasts
Rhode Island Governor's Commission on Disabilities Logo
In continued celebration of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, the GCD began their podcast series, The History of Disability Rights in RI. The first two episodes, focus on the overall scope of this project and the beginnings of public education for deaf and blind students. The third episode is a 2-part episode first focusing on the beginnings of institutionalization and the community mental health system and then examining the role that race and gender played in the development of those systems.

Brattleboro Vermont Amtrak Station on the Right Track for Rebuild
Old Brattleboro Amtrak Station
The Amtrak station in downtown Brattleboro is due for renovation. Recently, Amtrak announced it was beginning a feasibility study to determine if a new station should be built. “This project began as a joint effort by Amtrak and the town of Brattleboro to bring our existing station into [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance,” said Brattleboro Town Manager Peter Elwell.

New Report Shines Light on Workers with Disabilities
The Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) has issued a new report with data, history, and personal stories of Vermonters with disabilities. The report shines a light on the achievements and potential of people with disabilities as workers, the barriers and challenges they face, the widespread benefits of an inclusive workplace, and the policies necessary to make Vermont a state where everyone can work productively.

New England ADA Center is Open and Provides Webinars on the Americans with Disabilities Act
New England ADA Center IHCD Combined Graphic
During this pandemic, compliance with the ADA is even more critical whether you are a municipality, non-profit organization, state agency or business. We are open for business and here to take your ADA questions. Let us help you ensure that everyone can participate in your services. The New England ADA Center provides webinars on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact us at 800-949-4232 or ADAinfo@NewEnglandADA.org with your questions or to request a training.

National News
Feds Reach ‘Landmark Agreement’ on Rights of Parents with Disabilities
In a first-of-its-kind settlement, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services say that a state has agreed to change its ways after repeatedly discriminating against parents with disabilities. Under the agreement, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families “will not base decisions about removal of a child on stereotypes or generalizations about persons with disabilities, or on a parent’s disability, diagnosis or intelligence measures (e.g., IQ scores) alone.”

Disability Representation Matters in Cabinet Picks
respect ability
The national disability inclusion organization, RespectAbility, is expressing concern about the critical need for more leaders with disabilities. They are calling for the appointment of leaders with disabilities and their proven allies to be included in the incoming Biden-Harris administration. “If the President-Elect wants to build the best team that he can, then he needs to ensure more leaders with disabilities and our proven allies are represented across the total scope of government,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President and CEO of RespectAbility.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals
US Dept. of Transportation seal
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that it is revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air. The Department received more than 15,000 comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking. The final rule addresses concerns raised by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants, airports, other aviation transportation stakeholders, and other members of the public, regarding service animals on aircraft. 

New Fact Sheet: Addiction, Recovery and State and Local Governments
The ADA National Network has released the third fact sheet in their ADA, Addiction, and Recovery series. The fact sheet provides information about how the ADA applies to state and local governments for people with addiction to alcohol and people in recovery from opioids and other drugs.

Answer to the ADA Question of the Month
Answer: The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to all correctional programs, including prisons and jails, and the is jail required to administer Suboxone or transport you to a nearby methadone treatment facility to receive your daily dosage. Court cases, (e.g. Pesce v. Coppinger) have found that the ADA requires correction programs (jails and prisons) to administer drugs to inmates that are in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or transport them to a nearby methadone treatment facility to receive daily dosage. Inmates in MAT are individuals with disabilities under ADA, and the correctional system must find a way to assure continued treatment of Suboxone in a way that doesn’t cause a security or safety risk. Learn more from The ADA, Addiction and Recovery for State & Local Governments fact sheet.
Stay Connected:
We strive to ensure the Newsletter and the content we share is accessible. Unfortunately we have limited control of external websites. Please email us at adainfo@newenglandada.org if you encounter any issues accessing the newsletter or related content.

Access New England features topics related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), originating from the ADA Center, our state affiliates, the ADA National Network, and national sources.

The New England ADA Center is a member of the ADA National Network funded by the Administration for Community Living through National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Grant  90DP0087.