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Surgeon General Issues ‘Landmark Report’ on Addiction

Posted about 2 years ago by Betsy Woolf

November 17, 2016

By Pat Anson, Editor Pain News Network

Calling addiction “America’s most pressing problem,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has released a landmark report on alcohol, drug abuse and substance use disorders. Nearly 21 million Americans are believed to suffer from some form of substance addiction.

“Alcohol and drug addiction take an enormous toll on individuals, families, and communities,” said Murthy. “Most Americans know someone who has been touched by an alcohol or a drug use disorder. Yet 90 percent of people with a substance use disorder are not getting treatment. That has to change.”

The voluminous report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, takes an in-depth look at the abuse of alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs.  Murthy called for a cultural shift in the way Americans view addiction.

"For far too long, too many in our country have viewed addiction as a moral failing," Murthy said. "This unfortunate stigma has created an added burden of shame that has made people with substance-use disorders less likely to come forward and seek help.

"We must help everyone see that addiction is not a character flaw. It is a chronic illness that we must approach with the same skill and compassion with which we approach heart disease, diabetes, and cancer."