Substance Use Disorder And Addiction

Governors have long been at the forefront of efforts to prevent and treat opioid use disorder and substance use disorder, 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 help prevent and treat substance use disorder. 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.

Meet Our Team

  • Marianne Gibson, Program Director, Substance Use and Mental Health
  • Lauren Dedon, Senior Legal Policy Advisor
  • Maria Kearl, Policy Analyst, Public Safety and Legal Counsels


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Using Emergency Declarations to Address the Opioid Epidemic

Using Emergency Declarations to Address the Opioid Epidemic

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) released a white paper, Using Emergency Declarations to Address the Opioid Epidemic: Lessons Learned from States. States have used emergency ...

Governors’ Recommendations for Federal Action to End the Nation’s Opioid Crisis

Opioids continue to fuel the worst drug overdose epidemic in our nation’s history, claiming the lives of 115 individuals every day and devastating families and communities across the country. Governors ...

State Reporting: NGA Compact To Fight Opioid Addiction

In July 2016, 46 of the nation’s governors signed A Compact to Fight Opioid Addiction, marking the first time in more than 10 years that governors developed a compact through ...

Using Data and Evaluation in Policy Development, Implementation and Monitoring: Building Successful Policies to Reduce Prescription Opioid Misuse

Policy makers looking to reduce the abuse of prescription opioids face difficult decisions in selecting which of the many interventions will best fit their jurisdictions. Using Data and Evaluation in ...

Finding Solutions to the Prescription Opioid and Heroin Crisis: A Road Map for States

Inappropriate opioid prescribing is fueling one of the deadliest drug epidemics in United States history. Every day in the U.S., 78 people die from an opioid-related overdose. In addition to ...

Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse: Lessons Learned from an NGA Policy Academy

As part of the National Governors Association’s (NGA) ongoing effort to help states reduce prescription drug abuse, findings from the Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Policy Academy were the focus of ...

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 ...


  • Vital Signs on overdose disparities by race, ethnicity, and other important social determinants.
  • DOSE Dashboard includes monthly and annual nonfatal overdose data from syndromic surveillance systems in 42 states, including the District of Columbia. This represents the most up to date data that CDC’s DOSE system has available and is updated shortly after new data are made available each month. The dashboard provides data visualization that responsively adjusts to your selection of drug, state, month/year, age, and sex.  
  • SUDORS Dashboard includes comprehensive drug overdose data from 2020, from funded jurisdictions that met inclusion criteria. Participating jurisdictions provided data from death certificates and medical examiner/coroner reports (including scene findings, autopsy reports, and full postmortem toxicology findings). The dashboard provides a downloadable dataset that includes annual counts, percentages, and rates of drug overdose deaths per 100,000 persons.
  • Overdose Funding Snapshots are a useful repository for federal and state funding data. These pages contain a history of CDC’s overdose funding, major milestones, and an interactive map with clickable states featuring individual state investments and key examples of work therein.
  • CDC Feature: International Overdose Awareness Day: A Time to Remember and Take Action, CDC’s IOAD feature, presents vital overdose statistics, offers tips on recognizing signs of overdose, and provides informational resources. 
  • A qualitative assessment of circumstances surrounding drug overdose deaths during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, SUDORS Data Brief: The latest SUDORS data brief presents a qualitative assessment of circumstances surrounding drug overdose deaths during early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably physical and mental impacts of the pandemic and missed touchpoints or opportunities for intervention. It is critical to expand SUD screening, link persons into care and treatment, retain persons in SUD treatment, and expand telehealth during emergencies to identify and provide services to persons at increased risk of overdose.