Surgeon General Calls for Public-Health Based Approach to Address Opioid Epidemic

December 9, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​U.S. deaths related to drug and alcohol misuse have surged in recent years, almost entirely because of opioid misuse, according to a comprehensive report released by the U.S. Surgeon General on November 17, 2016. While the report found no significant change in statistics related to alcohol, cocaine, and hallucinogen consumption between 2002 and 2014, prescription opioid and heroin overdoses increased substantially during that time frame. The Surgeon General called for a public-health-based approach that shifts focus away from "negative attitudes" about the dangers of drugs and toward medically based treatment options. "Historically," the report said, "our society has treated addiction and misuse of alcohol and drugs as symptoms of moral weakness or as a willful rejection of societal norms, and these problems have been addressed primarily through the criminal justice system."

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