For the first time the US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy released a report specifically addressing the epidemic of substance use and addiction across the country.
The report found that 1 in 7 Americans will face addiction during their lives, but less than 10% of those people will receive treatment. In total drug use and abuse accounts for over $442 billion in economic impact each year.
“Historically, 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,” Murthy said in his introduction to the report.
“Despite the social and economic costs, this is a time of great opportunity. Ongoing health care and criminal justice reform efforts, as well as advances in clinical, research, and information technologies are creating new opportunities for increased access to effective prevention and treatment services.”
COBE Director Dr. Danielle Dick’s work on gene variants that predispose and/or protect against addiction and how they function was cited during the chapter on genetics. VIPBG Director Dr. Ken Kendler was also cited in the Genetics chapter as well.
The report aims to “galvanize the public, policymakers, and health care systems to make the most of these new opportunities so that the individual and public health consequences associated with alcohol and drug misuse can be addressed effectively,” according to authors.
“Only by doing so can individuals, their loved ones, and their communities be restored to full health and well-being.”
To read the full report, visit the Surgeon General’s website.