US Department of Education NIDRR Technical Assistance Program

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Chapter 3: General Requirements

Regulatory references: 28 CFR 36.201-36.213.

III-3.9000 Illegal use of drugs.

Discrimination based on an individual's current illegal use of drugs is not prohibited (see III-2.3000). Although individuals currently using illegal drugs are not protected from discrimination, the ADA does prohibit denial of health services, or services provided in connection with drug rehabilitation, to an individual on the basis of current illegal use of drugs, if the individual is otherwise entitled to such services.

ILLUSTRATION 1: A hospital emergency room may not refuse to provide emergency services to an individual because the individual is illegally using drugs.

ILLUSTRATION 2: A medical facility that specializes in care of burn patients may not refuse to treat an individual's burns on the grounds that the individual is illegally using drugs.

Because abstention from the use of drugs is an essential condition for participation in some drug rehabilitation programs, and may be a necessary requirement in inpatient or residential settings, a drug rehabilitation or treatment program may deny participation to individuals who use drugs while they are in the program.

ILLUSTRATION: A residential drug and alcohol treatment program may expel an individual for using drugs in a treatment center.