The Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act are landmark statutes that afford essential protections to individuals with disabilities in the foundational areas of everyday life. Despite their recognition of substance use disorders as disabilities, these statutes deny protection to individuals who are either in active use or in the early stages of their recovery. This Article explores the dangers posed by the “current use exception” and surveys the case law to determine the extent of the harms done to individuals with disabilities who seek to vindicate the rights purportedly guaranteed to them by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act. The sum total of these cases paints a grim picture of the present legal conception of substance use disorders not as diseases, but as moral failings. Further, it counsels in favor of changing the laws to more equitably address the realities of substance use disorders and recovery.
Substance Use as a Second Class Disability: A Survey of the ADA's Disarmament of Individuals in Recovery,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol73/iss1/4