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 also released a new issue brief, Six Strategies for Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse, that highlights strategies and provides recommendations for governors looking to reduce prescription drug abuse in their state.

The brief identifies a number of key strategies states can adopt, including:

  • Making better use of prescription drug monitoring programs;
  • Enhancing enforcement efforts;
  • Ensuring proper disposal of prescription drugs;
  • Leveraging the state’s role as regulator and purchaser of services;
  • Building partnerships among key stakeholders; and
  • Promoting public education about prescription drug abuse.