Surgeon General Nominee Sees Opioid Epidemic as High Priority, Supporters Say

Dr. Jerome Adams, the nominee to be the next U.S. Surgeon General, has made the opioid epidemic a high priority as Indiana’s Health Commissioner, his supporters say.

Addiction specialists and advocates tell NPR that Adams has been a leader in implementing lifesaving policies in Indiana.

Four months after being appointed in Indiana, Adams announced an HIV outbreak in a rural county. Most of those infected with HIV also tested positive for hepatitis C. Health workers say Adams persuaded then-Governor Mike Pence to allow Indiana counties to create syringe exchanges to contain the spread of disease.

“We wouldn’t have syringe exchange if it wasn’t for him,” said Carrie Lawrence, a public health researcher at Indiana University who helps implement syringe exchange programs in Indiana. Adams also supported a state bill that increased access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Deaths from heroin increased 328% between 2010 and 2015, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now seeing a sharp rise as well. More Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes, and this increasing trend is driven by Rx painkillers.

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