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

Expanding Access To Non-Opioid Management Of Chronic Pain

Expanding Access To Non-Opioid Management Of Chronic Pain

This report synthesizes the existing evidence base for non-opioid therapies, examines Medicaid coverage policies, and identifies barriers and opportunities for scaling evidence-based integrated pain management delivery systems. (View/Download) Executive Summary ...
Opioid and COVID-19 Related Resources

Opioid and COVID-19 Related Resources

(View/Download) Relevant information and guidance for communities confronting opioids in the age of COVID-19 The Intersection of Two Pandemics: Addiction and COVID-19 Webinar The USC Schaeffer Center and the Institute ...
State Strategies to Improve the Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to Address Opioid and other Substance Use Disorders

State Strategies to Improve the Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to Address Opioid and other Substance Use Disorders

(View/Download) Executive Summary States have implemented many different strategies to address opioid use disorder/substance use disorders (OUD/SUD) and promote safe prescribing practices. One of these strategies is maintaining prescription drug ...
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State Strategies to Support Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services through the COVID-19 Pandemic

(View/Download) New Challenges Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governors were looking for ways to strengthen substance use disorder (SUD) provider capacity as part of their comprehensive response to the ...
The Governor’s Guide to Public Health Preparedness

The Governor’s Guide to Public Health Preparedness

(View/Download) Executive Summary Beginning on their first day in office, governors must prepare for emergencies of all types and, along with providing for the public’s safety, governors must also think ...

NGA Health to Assist 5 States on Addressing Infectious Diseases Related to Substance Use

The National Governors Association Health Division (NGA Health) will be working with five states -- Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada and Tennessee -- on a learning lab highlighting best practices around ...

State Leaders Convene for Strategies on Drug Treatment and Recovery for Justice-Involved Populations

National Governors Association Workshops in Ohio and Louisiana Spotlight Medication Assisted Treatment in Criminal Justice System The National Governors Association (NGA) brought together nine states in Cleveland, Ohio, and New ...

Regional Workshops on Expanding Access to Medication Assisted Treatment for Justice-Involved Populations

June 10-11 and 13-14, 2019 | Cleveland, Ohio and New Orleans, Louisiana NGA Solutions: The Center for Best Practices hosted two regional workshops on expanding access to medication assisted treatment ...

States Pursue Strategies to Address Infectious Disease Related to the Opioid Epidemic

Priorities Include Expanding Access to Syringe Services Programs and Using Data to Target High-Risk Communities With viral infections attributable to injection drug use on the rise, the National Governors Association ...