Surgeon General Issues First-Ever Report on Substance Addiction
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a “complex disease,” and “quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will.” The NIH also states that many addictive substances alter the brain, complicating efforts to quit. The reality is that more than 27 million Americans have substance abuse disorders — although fewer than 10% receive treatment, as noted in “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.” This report is the first from the U.S. Surgeon General to address substance addiction.
Citing alcohol and drug misuse as “major public health challenges,” the report urges medical and oral health care professionals to address substance abuse issues observed in patients in the same fashion as any other illness. In addition to addressing abuse through prevention strategies and health care services, the report calls for health professionals to support workforce guidelines, advocate for changes in medical, nursing and dental school curriculums, and encourage ongoing education.