Join Together—an organization at the Boston University School of Public Health promotes the need to advance effective alcohol and drug policy, prevention, and treatment through community coalitions. In 2006 Join Together convened a policy panel to develop state policy recommendations to address substance use disorders.

The Blueprint’s recommendations provide a guide to critical components of state policies necessary to effectively implement and sustain integrated systems in state governments. Since the justice system is ideally positioned to link individuals to treatment, leadership in the justice system has the power to stop the drain of substance use disorders on state budgets and improve public health and public safety. The complete Blueprint for the States is available online at

  Summary of Blueprint for the States Policy Recommendations
1 Leadership
Governors, legislative leaders and chief judges need to provide personal and continuous leadership for a statewide strategy to prevent and address alcohol and drug problems. When prevention and treatment are delegated to mid-level state agencies, states cannot successfully prevent or treat drug problems at the population level.
2 Structure
Every state should have a strategy that encompasses all the agencies affected by alcohol and drug problems. Responsibility for state and federal prevention and treatment funds should be held by an entity that reports directly to the governor and has direct access to the state legislature.
3 Resource
States can generate two key resources needed to improve alcohol and drug services: money and skilled practitioners. An annual public report should detail alcohol and drug related spending in all state agencies. If additional funds are needed, states should consider raising alcohol taxes. States should also use their licensing and educational resources to improve and retain the prevention and treatment workforce.
4 Measurement and Accountability
States should hold agencies and contracted providers accountable for meeting identified outcome measures. They should reward those that meet or exceed outcome targets and penalize those that consistently fail.
5 Legislation
States should review and update the legislation that controls their alcohol and drug policies including authorization for prevention and treatment agencies and alcohol control boards. Laws and regulations that prevent recovering individuals from getting jobs, education and other services needed for successful reintegration should also be reviewed and repealed.
6 Sustain State Focus and Attention
State advisory councils should be created or revived with enough staff and authority to hold elected officials accountable for providing needed leadership. States should support community coalitions and recovery organizations to build a lasting constituency for continuing effective state action.


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