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Back-to-Back CLEs Explore Opioid Crisis, Substance Misuse in the Legal Profession

By Jeffery Leon

May 24, 2018

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.comOpioid addiction is a growing crisis in America, as countless jurisdictions across the nation struggle to navigate around issues of addiction, treatment, and regulating the flow of opioid drugs. On June 14 the D.C. Bar CLE Program will offer back-to-back sessions on the opioid crisis and its impact on the legal profession, including substance misuse by attorneys.

Legal Ethics, Substance Abuse, and the Opioid Crisis” takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. and explores the connection between substance misuse and ethical violations, and its impact on the legal profession. The course will offer practical advice for managing partners and employers when dealing with substance misuse by attorneys, as well as examine the rules related to addiction issues in bar disciplinary proceedings and key cases involving addiction.

The session also will explore the causes and medical nature of the problem, including detection, prevention, and methods of treatment for attorneys. “This course is offered twice a year, a true testament to its popularity,” says Daniel Schumack of Schumack Ryals PLLC, who will be serving as course faculty. “Attendees will learn the signs to indicate that a colleague may have a drug or alcohol problem, and how to assist so that clients aren’t impacted, and how the disciplinary system handles complaints against impaired lawyers.”

Another faculty member, Niki Irish of the D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program, agrees. “I look forward to continuing to raise awareness of the significant issues of addiction in the legal community, and [to] explore ways the Bar can assist attorneys in obtaining the help they need,” she says.

Also joining the panel are Dr. John Francis Dombrowski of The Washington Pain Center and Julia Porter of the D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

The CLE Program will follow up the class with “FDA and DEA Regulation of Opioid Drugs and the Opioid Crisis,” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This course will discuss how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates and approves opioid drugs, including drugs intended to counteract addiction. Faculty also will explore how the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration schedules opioids and develops annual quotas, and how the American Medical Association (AMA) and its doctors interact with FDA and DEA regulators.

“What is unique about these two programs is that there is a focus on attorneys who can not only be affected by their own use or a colleague’s, friend’s, or family member’s use of opioid products, but who also have the possibility to work on potential legislative or regulatory solutions to help curb the epidemic,” says Brian Malkin, an FDA/intellectual property counsel at Arent Fox LLP who will serve as faculty member for the class.

Attendees also will hear from Elaine Lippmann, senior regulatory counsel at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Regulatory Policy; Ruth Carter, diversion program manager at the DEA; and Debra Cohn, AMA’s senior Washington counsel.

Both sessions will take place at the D.C. Bar headquarters and also are available by webinar. Receive a $50 discount by registering for both courses. For more information, visit dcbar.org/cle.