Surgeon General Reports Substance Abuse America’s #1 Threat

November 17, 2016, just released, The Surgeon General reports substance abuse America’s #1 Surgeon Generalthreat.  Notably, the Surgeon General  focused upon substance abuse and addiction for the first time in today’s report.

That’s most likely because our country’s addiction epidemic is now the number one cause of accidental death.  So, the time has come to recognize and address the problem.

The report addresses the science of drug abuse and addiction.  Also, it calls for a cultural shift in the way we think and talk about addiction.

Youth Danger:

Child With Beer“Preventing or even simply delaying young people from trying substances is important to reducing the likelihood of a use disorder later in life,” said Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.  For example, children who use alcohol before age 15 are 4 times more likely to become alcoholics later in life.  So preventing early abuse is essential.

Societal Effects:Overdose

  • America is in an opioid abuse epidemic
  • Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.
  • Every day 129 Americans die from drug overdose.
  • As a result, drug abuse costs our country $442 billion in health care, lost productivity, and criminal justice costs.

Neurobiology Findings:brain scan

  • Addiction is a brain disease with potential for recovery and recurrence.
  • Brain damage from drugs persists long after use stops.
  • Youth are most at risk as their brains are still developing

Treatment Findings:Treatment

  • Substance abuse treatment can achieve success.
  • Only one in ten substance abusers receive any treatment.
  • Medications can be effective for substance abuse.  However, they are under-utilized.

Drug abuse ruins the lives of millions of Americans every day.  Results include automobile crashes, industrial accidents, crime, child abuse, sexual exploitation, impaired health, lower quality of life, and needless deaths.

Just about everybody we meet knows someone whose life has been destroyed by drugs.  So turning the tide on America’s drug epidemic will not be easy.  Therefore, effective leadership, active parenting, detection, education, and treatment, will all play roles in recovery.