Substance Use Disorder and Addiction

Governors have long been at the forefront of efforts to prevent and treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and substance use disorder (SUD), working with stakeholders to mount a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic. Since 2012, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices has supported states in their efforts to address this crisis and help save lives. Over the years, NGA Health and NGA Public Safety and Legal Counsel have jointly worked with states to identify and implement evidenced based best practices related to substance use disorder. NGA focus areas include but are not limited to:

  • Sharing evidenced based prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies and programs;
  • Using data and evaluation in policy development;
  • Improving outcomes for targeted populations (justice-involved individuals, pregnant and parenting women, LGBTQIA+, people of color, and other historically underrepresented populations);
  • Expanding access to medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD);
  • Identifying trends in polysubstance use and identifying comprehensive responses to addiction;
  • Addressing infectious diseases as a result of SUD/OUD;
  • Strategies to improve the treatment of individuals with co-occurring disorders; and
  • Increasing access to non-opioid management of chronic pain.

Current Projects

Improving Outcomes for Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder on Community Supervision

While states have made progress in implementing and expanding access to treatment services for justice-involved individuals within correctional facilities, many states continue to encounter significant barriers to continuity of care and access to evidence-based treatment upon reentry and reintegration into the community. In response, NGA and the American Correctional Association are supporting Alaska, Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia through December 2021 on efforts to strengthen health and substance use treatment services for justice-involved populations on community supervision. This work includes increasing connections to, and continuity of, treatment services for justice-involved individuals, including MOUD. Additionally, pursing strategies to promote reentry planning and continuity of care and best practices from other states on supervision strategies that support access to community-based treatment for individuals with OUD.

Through a partnership with the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP), NGA hosted a roundtable with officials from Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee to discuss shared challenges and innovative approaches to improving community supervision of individual with substance use disorder. This roundtable culminated in a publication on Community Supervision and Treatment of Individuals With Substance Use Disorder Challenges and Opportunities for Governors and State Officials.

Improving Care for Stimulant and Polysubstance Use

NGA has been hosting a series of learning calls with national experts, Governors’ office staff and senior officials, researchers, academics, and local organizations to better understand the current landscape and challenges from state leaders for addressing stimulant and polysubstance use at the state level. These conversations culminated in a roundtable in July 2021, where eight focus areas emerged that Governors and their senior state officials could consider in developing and implementing equitable approaches to reducing stimulant and polysubstance use. To build on these efforts and continue supporting Governors, NGA will launch a Policy Academy this fall for four states on implementing and strengthening strategies aimed at improving care for individuals affected by stimulant and polysubstance use.


Substance Use Disorder and Addiction Library

Wrap Up Meeting for the Policy Academy on State Strategies to Improve Care for Stimulant and Polysubstance Use

Wrap Up Meeting for the Policy Academy on State Strategies to Improve Care for Stimulant and Polysubstance Use

On September 19-20, 2022, the National Governors Association hosted the Wrap Up Meeting for the Policy Academy on State Strategies to Improve Care for Stimulant and Polysubstance Use in Los ...
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National Recovery Month - 2022

National Recovery Month – 2022

National Recovery Month, which started in 1989, is a national observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the nation’s strong and proud recovery ...
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Supporting and Sustaining Access to Harm Reduction Services for People Who Use Drugs

Supporting and Sustaining Access to Harm Reduction Services for People Who Use Drugs

Harm reduction approaches are focused on minimizing the health, social and economic effects of drug use, including infectious disease spread and overdose with humility and compassion toward people who use ...
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Behavioral Health Equity for All Communities: Policy Solutions to Advance Equity Across the Crisis Continuum

Behavioral Health Equity for All Communities: Policy Solutions to Advance Equity Across the Crisis Continuum

As a point of interception, equitable crisis response provides an opportunity to disrupt a cycle that has perpetuated longstanding challenges in underserved communities. (Download) Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic called widespread ...
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Expanding Access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Justice-Involved Populations Under Community Supervision: Best Practices from Four States

Expanding Access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Justice-Involved Populations Under Community Supervision: Best Practices from Four States

States discovered a variety of policy and programmatic approaches to improve the MOUD landscape. States were able to pilot interagency collaborations, launch training and education curricula and explore innovative solutions ...
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Governors’ 2022 Health Priorities

Governors’ 2022 Health Priorities

Governors have put forth defined plans and made their vision for improving the health of their state or territory clear through their state budgets and State of the State addresses ...
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State Efforts to Improve the Continuum of Care for Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Use Disorder

State Efforts to Improve the Continuum of Care for Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Use Disorder

Lessons Learned from the National Governors Association Substance Use Disorder Learning Collaborative in Six States (Download) Executive Summary In June 2020, the National Governors Association (NGA) launched the Strengthening Substance ...
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4 States and Territories to Participate in NGA Policy Academy on Stimulant and Polysubstance Use

4 States and Territories to Participate in NGA Policy Academy on Stimulant and Polysubstance Use

National Governors Association to Work With American Samoa, Connecticut, Michigan and West Virginia on Improving Care for Individuals Who Use Stimulants American Samoa, Connecticut, Michigan and West Virginia will participate ...
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Lessons Learned in State Collaboration to Address Substance Use Disorder and Justice-Involved Individuals

Lessons Learned in State Collaboration to Address Substance Use Disorder and Justice-Involved Individuals

This policy brief highlights lessons learned from collaborative efforts in Hawai‘i, Pennsylvania and West Virginia between SAAs and SSAs to address SUD issues within justice-involved populations. (Download) Executive Summary A ...
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