Addiction Resources | Center on Addiction

Tools and resources for policymakers

Tools and Resources for Policymakers

Tools and resources for policymakers content

Policy and Advocacy Priorities

View our current public policy and advocacy agenda.

Policy Brief on Marijuana Legalization

A summary of Center on Addiction's stance on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

Reducing Stigma

There is a deeply entrenched view in our society that addiction is a choice, a moral failing, or an indicator of personal weakness. Despite a significant body of research about how addiction develops, why it persists, and how it can best be managed, stereotypes and misunderstanding of the disease endure. This 1-pager provides examples of stigma/misunderstanding about addiction and offers recommendations for reducing it.

Preventing Addiction

The undeniably best way to avoid the costly consequences of substance misuse and addiction is to invest in effective prevention and early intervention. While effective prevention involves a comprehensive approach, current approaches to prevention are often limited or rely on interventions that are not evidence-based. This 1-pager provides recommendations for adopting a comprehensive prevention strategy.

Improving Addiction Treatment

The separation of addiction treatment from the mainstream health care system has left the health care field unprepared and largely unable to treat addiction and made care largely inaccessible to the millions of people in need of addiction treatment.  In order to effectively manage and treat addiction, addiction treatment must be fully integrated with the mainstream health care system. This 1-pager provides recommendations for ways to achieve this integration and improve addiction treatment. 

Reducing the Burden of Addiction on the Child Welfare System

Parental substance use and addiction increase the risk for maltreatment and involvement with the child welfare system, creating immediate and long-term harm for children. These harms can be reduced by effectively treating parents, yet few parents who need treatment receive it. Many families with parental substance use end up in the child welfare system, which is often not well trained in identifying and managing addiction. This 1-pager provides recommendations for reducing the burden of addiction on the child welfare system.

Addressing Addiction Care in the Criminal Justice System

Because substance use and addiction are largely criminalized in the U.S., addiction is pervasive in the criminal justice system, where the focus has been on punishment instead of treatment. Failing to address addiction effectively in the criminal justice system is a key barrier to reducing addiction and crime. This 1-pager provides key recommendations for addressing addiction care in the criminal justice system.

Addressing Addiction in the Workplace

Employers incur costs for untreated addiction among their employees and their employees’ families. These costs can be reduced when employers invest in treatment and recovery. Employees whose addiction is effectively addressed have fewer days of unscheduled leave, have lower rates of turnover, and use fewer health care services. This 1-pager provides key recommendations for investing in addiction supports in the workplace.

Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers

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.

Actions the Federal Government Should Take to Have a Significant Impact on the Opioid Epidemic

This guide was created for federal policymakers to help facilitate the process of taking tangible and effective steps to address the opioid epidemic. This set of research-based and health-focused recommendations presents concrete actions the federal government can and should take to have a measurable impact on the crisis. It includes specific recommendations to make significant and meaningful progress in ending the opioid crisis, including preventing opioid misuse and addiction; reducing overdose deaths and other harmful consequences of opioids; improving opioid addiction treatment; and providing opioid addiction care in the criminal justice system. 

Improving SUD Benefit Coverage

This tool was created for states and health insurers and provides guidance for improving substance use disorder (SUD) benefit coverage among commercial plans. The tool summarizes the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for covering SUD benefits, defines critical SUD benefits, provides best practices recommendations for benefit administration and identifies examples of satisfactory SUD benefit language.

Guide for Policymakers in Addressing Addiction and Risky Substance Use

This guide helps policymakers understand the effects of addiction and risky substance use and know how to respond. It offers information and recommendations of unprecedented breadth and depth for improving how policymakers working in all levels of government and in the health care, education, justice and social services systems can prevent and reduce addiction and risky substance use in the U.S.

State Guide to MHPAEA Requirements  

The guide is designed for state regulators of commercial health plans that have to comply with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). It features recommendations for which critical addiction treatment benefits should be offered, examples of how limitations placed on coverage of addiction benefits can undermine addiction care and why they should not be used, and a summary of the MHPAEA final rule.

Key Facts for States

A summary of key facts on addiction and substance use and their impact on state budgets.

Recommended State Actions

A summary of steps states can take to improve health outcomes and reduce the costs of addiction and substance use.

Tools and resources for policymakers info

16% (40 million) of the U.S. population ages 12 and older meet clinical criteria for a tobacco, alcohol or drug problem.

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