The report is quite extensive, and we will share our more specific reactions soon.
But the bottom line is this:
The findings won’t surprise anyone in our field. We know that tens of thousands of Americans are dying from the disease of addiction and we know that treatment works, recovery is possible, and prevention and early intervention are critical.
As NPR said: “Though little in the report is new, it puts impressive numbers to the problem, and some surprising context: More people use prescription opioids than use tobacco. There are more people with substance abuse disorders [NPR’s language] than people with cancer. One in five Americans binge drinks. And substance abuse disorders cost the U.S. more than $420 billion a year.”
Yes, there are myriad barriers from funding, insurance, and policies to a prepared workforce - but the report says again and again a truth we know all too well - these barriers exist because our society still has a well-worn path of thinking of and treating addiction as a social or moral problem instead of a health problem.
The full report is available here: https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/index.php. The report will be officially released later today, November 17, in a live stream event at 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific, featuring remarks from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and recommendations from the report’s authors for how health care providers can contribute to the changing conversation.
We hope that the report opens people’s eyes to the important work you all do, and that you will raise your voice in your community and with local reporters to share your real stories of what we need to drive our nation to make access to quality care a shared priority.
Stay tuned for more from me. We are working on our response and will share it with you to help you inform your response. We are here to help – and want to know how you are responding.
President & CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health