The National Governor's Association (NGA) announced the selection of Arkansas and four other states (Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia), to join Alabama and Colorado in developing and implementing comprehensive and coordinated strategies that take advantage of all available tools and resources to address this growing problem.
Paul K. Halverson, DrPH, Director and State Health Officer at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) said that Arkansas can get a head start by taking some tips from the other states that have already begun to develop their programs.
"We are very excited about the way this grant will fit our strategies for injury prevention in the state," Halverson said.
As fiscal agent in Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will administer the grant and receive targeted technical assistance from NGA Center staff and a national faculty of experts.
"We share a common goal with all other states, and that is to reduce prescription drug abuse," Halverson said. "We will work together with our partners here and in the other states in this program to find appropriate solutions to this problem. At the same time, we will also discuss ways to continue to ensure proper access for those who legitimately need these medications."
NGA also released a new issue brief, Six Strategies for Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse, that highlights strategies and provides recommendations for governors looking to reduce prescription drug abuse in their state.
"Developing an effective strategy will require balancing the needs and concerns of patients, public health, law enforcement and the medical community," said Halverson. "Finding a way to work together will help decrease the number of individuals who are misusing or abusing prescription drugs."
The brief identifies a number of key strategies states can adopt, including:
- Making better use of prescription drug monitoring programs;
- Enhancing enforcement efforts;
- Ensuring proper disposal of prescription drugs;
- Leveraging the state's role as regulator and purchaser of services;
- Building partnerships among key stakeholders; and
- Promoting public education about prescription drug abuse.
Click here to learn more about the prescription drug abuse initiative.