Addiction, Neuroscience, and the Criminal Law image

February 28, 2018 5:15 - 7:15 PM
Lectures and Panels
Wasserstein Hall, Room 1023
Harvard Law School, 1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA


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.

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.


addiction   criminal law   health law policy   neuroscience   public health