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Surgeon General Issues First Ever Report On Addiction  E-mail

11/17/2016 - ATIN - The Surgeon General has issued its first ever report on addiction in the wake of epeidemic increases in overose deaths in recent years, particularly opiate abuse related fatalities. The report was issued in hopes that it might galvanize public awareness and policy makers in the same way that the office of the top medical officer focused awareness on cigarette smoking with its report issued over 50 years ago declaring that cigarettes caused cancer.

But prominent congressmen already are saying they doubt the report will have that kind of impact. One thing to remember is that the current surgeon general is an Obama appointee with little time in office left to follow up on the report. President-Elect Trump discussed the problem of addiction during his campaign for president, but bascically showed his ingnorance of the nature of addiction by saying things like he would work to get people "unaddicted" if elected.

The report contained an array of statistics and facts that would be familiar to most who have been to treatment and certainly to professionals employed in the addiction treatment industry. These included the small number of those who are addicted that actually receive any addiction care, the fact that addiction is widely viewed as a moral failing despite the American Medical Association having decalred addiction a disease way back in the 1950s, etc...

Of particular note are a couple of data points that highlight the critical role of the prevention side of the addiction care field, an oft overlooked and underappreciated aspect of the batt;le against addiction. The report pointed out that if a 13-yr-old tries drugs they have a 70 percent change of developing a substance abuse disorder versus just 25 percent if a teenager is first exposed to mood altering substances just fours later at age seventeen.

Ted Jackson

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