Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers | Center on Addiction

Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers

Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers

Published: October 2017

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Although the opioid epidemic is a national issue, states shoulder the majority of the financial and social burden caused by addiction. Fortunately, there are many actions that states can take to effectively address the opioid epidemic and the larger public health crisis of addiction.  


At The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, we conduct extensive research on how policymakers and public health leaders can make significant improvements in addiction prevention and treatment.

This guide shows state policymakers how to implement a public health approach to end the opioid epidemic. By offering concrete strategies, this concise resource provides the tools needed to prevent, reduce, treat and manage opioid misuse, addiction and the associated consequences. The guide’s recommendations draw from our research, as well as that of other organizations committed to eradicating addiction. We also include examples of data-informed, treatment-focused initiatives on the state and local levels that can serve as models for others struggling to contain this epidemic.

Recommendations and Conclusions

To effectively address the opioid epidemic, states must adopt a four-pronged, public health approach with specific actions to:

  • Prevent opioid misuse and addiction
  • Reduce overdose deaths and other harmful consequences
  • Improve opioid addiction treatment
  • Improve addiction care in the criminal justice system

States that make this investment will not only be able to overcome the current opioid epidemic but also will be in a better position to prevent or face down future drug crises.

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