The abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, and is the most common type of drug abuse after marijuana use among teens between the ages of 12 and 17. To combat the growing problem, the National Governors Association (NGA) is hosting a year-long project led by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Policy Academy is a year-long exercise in strategic planning aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse. In addition to Alabama and Colorado, five states – Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia – will develop and implement comprehensive and coordinated strategies that take advantage of all available tools and resources to address this growing problem.

NGA staff will work with teams of senior-level policymakers including governors’ health and criminal justice advisors, state health officials, attorneys general, state chief information officers, legislators, physicians and allied health professional groups to examine a variety of issues, including:

  • Building and governing a prescription drug monitoring program and implementing privacy safeguards;
  • Assessing legislative, regulatory and information exchange barriers;
  • Developing a coordinated state response across agencies;
  • Coordinating across states and within regions;
  • Examining best practices in treatment;
  • Responding to illicit access points such as online pharmacies; and
  • Coordinating education, tracking and monitoring, proper medication disposal and enforcement efforts.