Since the 1960s, surgeons general have undertaken a proactive role in informing the American public on health issues affecting the nation as a whole. A few days ago, the surgeon general issued a landmark report on the most pressing public health concern facing America. Allow me to highlight some of the surgeon general’s report, “Facing Addiction in America,” that was created because of the important health and social problems associated with alcohol and drug misuse.
Most Americans know someone with a substance use disorder, and many know someone who has lost or nearly lost a family member as a consequence of substance misuse. Yet, at the same time, few other medical conditions are surrounded by as much shame and misunderstanding as substance use disorders.
Neighborhoods and communities as a whole are also suffering as a result of alcohol and drug-related crime and violence, abuse and neglect of children and the increased costs of health care associated with substance misuse. As described in this report, a comprehensive approach is needed to address substance use problems in the U.S. that includes: widespread implementation of evidence-based prevention policies and programs to prevent substance misuse and related harms; and improved access to evidence-based treatment services, integrated with mainstream health care, for those at risk for or affected by substance use disorders.
How we respond to this crisis is a test for all of us.
Elks Drug Awareness Program