Addiction, Neuroscience, and the Criminal Law: Commonwealth vs. Julie Eldred
Is addiction a disease? And does it matter for the criminal law? The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court now faces these questions in the potentially landmark case, Commonwealth vs. Julie Eldred. The Court must decide if it is constitutional for the criminal justice system to require addicted offenders to remain drug free. Is this requirement like asking a patient in cancer remission not to get cancer again? Or is it simply requiring someone to make better decisions? As the country faces an opioid epidemic, the case has drawn national attention.
This panel discussion featured key legal and scientific experts involved in the case: defense attorney Lisa Newman-Polk; psychologist Dr. Gene Heyman, scientific expert in support of the Commonwealth; and Dr. Brian Barnett, Addiction Psychiatry Fellow, Partners Healthcare.
Brian Barnett, "Insurers are making it harder for me to treat my opioid-addicted patients," Washington Post (April 24, 2018).
Part of the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.