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

Addressing the Infectious Disease Consequences of the Opioid Epidemic

Governors are at the forefront of efforts to curb the opioid epidemic and related challenges, including increased transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other blood-borne ...

Institute for State Criminal Justice and Public Safety Executives

Seattle | May 21-22, 2019 NGA hosted 34 states in Seattle to discuss issues around criminal justice and public safety at the 2019 Institute for State Public Safety Executives. Held ...

Letter Regarding Appropriations for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

May 20, 2019 The Honorable Roy Blunt Chair Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable Patty Murray Ranking Member Appropriations ...

Impaired Driving Convening

Columbus, Ohio | May 2-3, 2019 The NGA Solutions: Center for Best Practices’ Impaired Driving Convening brought together 13 states to discuss strategies to address transportation safety and elevate the ...

Leveraging Data to Unleash Innovation & Curb the Opioid Epidemic

In the complex fight against the opioid overdose epidemic, states can use data to identify critical needs, direct resources and drive policymaking. An NGA survey of 41 states conducted in ...

Opioid Reference Guide for New Administrations

Developed by the NGA Center through a survey and extensive consultation with senior state officials and other national experts, our new opioid "Reference Guide for New Administrations" highlights key questions, ...

Emerging Trends in the Evolving Opioid Epidemic

While the opioid overdose epidemic justifiably dominates national and state-level headlines, a significant issue is re-emerging for governors and policymakers across the country: cocaine, methamphetamine (meth) and stimulants are inflicting ...

NGA Opioid Summit for New Administrations

Washington, DC | April 8-9, 2019 AGENDA From April 8-9. NGA hosted the Opioid Summit for New Administrations in Washington, D.C. Public health and public safety officials from 33 states ...

NGA to Assist 13 States in Strengthening Policies Against Impaired Driving

Columbus, Ohio, Summit Kicks Off Technical Assistance to States To address the grim and growing toll of impaired driving, the National Governors Association is working with 13 states on efforts ...