The U.S. Surgeon General will release a report this fall on substance use, addiction and health, according to Medscape. It will be the first such report since U.S. surgeons began issuing them in 1964.
The report will cover topics including prescription drug use, as well as the use of alcohol and other substances, said U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD.
Murthy said the report will “bring together the best available science on prevention, treatment, and recovery, so we can equip our healthcare providers with the tools they need to take the best possible care of patients.”
He told the Association of Health Care Journalists this week that his office will soon send letters to 1.1 million physicians, nurses, dentists and others who prescribe opioids, urging them to increase their efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. The letter will ask prescribers to identify patients at risk for addiction, connect patients to treatment, help patients understand the risks and benefits of opioids, and help replace stigma with treatment.
Murthy plans to travel across the country, including to “some of the hardest hits states, to bring this information to clinicians and directly to the public.” He will emphasize examples of best practices. He said he wants to “help us move the needle on addressing addiction ― something we’ve needed to do for decades in this country.”
His office aims to “help the country to see addiction not as a moral failing, not as a bad choice, but as a chronic disease” that deserves as much attention and skill as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. “We cannot heal as a nation without compassion,” he said. “Compassion is what allows us to stop judging and to start helping, and to step beyond our own bias and offer people support.”