WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced two new projects aimed at helping states combat the effects of the nationwide opioid epidemic.
Twelve states have been selected to participate in the two projects. In one, participating states will travel to Kentucky to learn about how that state is addressing the increased risk of infectious disease through public health surveillance and community prevention efforts. In the second, states will learn from Ohio’sefforts to better serve pregnant and post-natal women with opioid use disorder and improve health outcomes for their babies.
Seven states were chosen to participate in the project related to infectious disease: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Michigan, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Five were chosen for the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome project: Alaska, Arizona, Missouri, Rhode Island and West Virginia.
Governors have long been committed to tackling the opioid epidemic, including the effects it has on the community beyond the person with opioid use disorder. In their recent recommendations to Congress and the Administration on how to end the opioid crisis, governors specifically called for federal funding to “provide flexibility for states to meet community needs and emerging challenges,” including the increased risk of infectious disease transmission.
In addition, they called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to “promote universal substance use disorder screening for pregnant women and comprehensive standards for treating Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
On Saturday, Feb. 24, at their upcoming Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., governors will devote a session to the opioid epidemic. Expected to attend that session is newly confirmed Health Secretary, Alex Azar. Los Angeles Times reporter Noam Levey will moderate a discussion among governors that will highlight what is working in the states, as well as strategies for how they can strengthen their efforts.