This week, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued the “Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health,” the first comprehensive study compiled by the federal government’s top public health spokesman examining the toll of substance misuse in America and the best available knowledge to address it. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who authored comprehensive addiction and recovery legislation that was signed into law this year, released the following statement on the report:
“For too long, we tended to think of substance abuse as a moral failing rather than the dangerous disease that is. Thankfully, that’s starting to change. The Surgeon General’s report and other new research are showing how substance disorders work and how best to treat them. Congress passed my comprehensive addiction and recovery legislation to fundamentally change the federal government’s approach to solving this problem. And states like Rhode Island are putting together good plans of their own that fit the specific needs of their communities. Addiction is a powerful illness and recovery is a long and difficult path, but we are making progress.”
In the report, the Surgeon General finds that “[a]lcohol and drug misuse and related disorders are major public health challenges that are taking an enormous toll on individuals, families, and society,” adding that last year alone, “over 27 million people in the United States reported current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, and over 66 million people (nearly a quarter of the adult and adolescent population) reported drinking in the past month.”
The full report is available here.