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Facing Addiction in America

The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, unveiled his office’s long-awaited report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, last week. The report finds alcohol and drug misuse and severe substance use disorders, commonly called addiction, to be one of America’s most pressing public health concerns. Nearly 21 million Americans – more than the number of people who have all cancers combined – suffer from substance use disorders. “Alcohol and drug addiction take an enormous toll on individuals, families, and communities,” said Dr. Murthy. “Most Americans know someone who has been touched by an alcohol or a drug use disorder. Yet 90 percent of people with a substance use disorder are not getting treatment. That has to change.

This report provides an in-depth look at the science of substance use disorders and addiction, calls for a cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the issue, and recommends actions we can take to prevent and treat these conditions, and promote recovery.

Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, Executive Director of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, adds “This is a watershed moment. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report validates everything experts have been saying for years and adds an influential voice to the public discourse about the overwhelming substance use disorder crisis in America. This is the number one public health issue and we need to pay attention. We have the opportunity to transform lives and strengthen communities by addressing our country’s addiction crisis,” said Dr. Murthy. “There could not be a more important time for us to act.

For the full report and executive summary, visit

https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/