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Surgeon General Issues Report on Substance Abuse in America

November 18, 2016

The U.S. surgeon general released Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, a comprehensive report detailing the state of substance abuse in America and proposing sustainable solutions to address the public health crisis.

The first report of its kind, it has the same sense of urgency as the report released in 1964 that shaped public attitudes and the government’s response to the growing evidence of the health impacts of smoking. The hope is that this report will provide information and inspiration so that the public, policymakers, and health care systems can work to address the individual and public health consequences associated with alcohol and drug misuse.

The report addresses the issue of substance abuse as a public health issue and brings focus to enormity of the problem. For example, one in five seven Americans suffers from a substance disorder, one in five regularly binge drinks, and substance disorders cost the U.S. more than $420 billion a year.

This report covers the major categories of abused substances including alcohol, illicit drugs, and over-the-counter drugs that cause health and social and substance use disorders. It includes recommendations for improving public awareness, implementing evidence-based treatment services, and financing strategies.

In an effort to change attitudes towards addiction by both the public and policy makers, the report provides an entire chapter on the neurobiology that causes addiction. The goal is to demonstrate the scientific basis of addiction and replace the stigma of addiction as a moral failing.

The report also provides evidence based prevention programs that will inform policy and funding actions as federal and state authorities look to reduce the risk of addiction in all populations.

For more information, contact HAP’s Michael Consuelos, MD, senior vice president, clinical integration.

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