We are no strangers to public health crises in the United States; and we have a long history finding solutions to such problems, even if they are not in the form of a cure. Naturally, the crisis we face today, is opioid use disorder, a problem affecting millions of Americans on a scale of epidemic proportions. Yet, despite the best intentions of public health experts and lawmakers alike, the epidemic rages on, taking the lives of nearly 100 American lives daily.
The estimates vary regarding how many people are afflicted by an opioid use disorder, but one thing is certain, only a small percentage of addicts ever receive the treatment that they so desperately require. Without treatment, or access to substance use disorder facilities, prescription opioid and heroin addicts will continue to carry out self-harm and ultimately experience premature death. It is a reality, which sadly, does not need to be, since addiction is just as treatable as any other manageable health problem, such as diabetes. Addiction, just like diabetes, can be deadly without a program of maintenance.
Facing Addiction in America
Last week, U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, released a report the magnitude of which was on par with the 1964 surgeon general’s report on smoking and health which ultimately resulted in huge reductions in smoking rates and related deaths in the decades that followed. Murthy’s report called “Facing Addiction,” gives readers a sweeping view of the opioid epidemic and the challenges we face in curbing the problem, The Washington Post reports. The Surgeon General called the opioid epidemic “a moral test for America.”
“The reason I’m issuing this report is I want to call our country to action around what has become a pressing public health issue,” Murthy said in an interview. “I want our country to understand the magnitude of this crisis. I’m not sure everyone does.”
If you have a loved one who is battling with a health condition of any kind, you would expect that they would receive access to effective methods of care, in a timely manner. With addiction, that simply is not the case. In the new report, it is pointed out that addiction affected 20.8 million people in the United States last year, just as many as those living with diabetes, according to the article. However, only one in 10 people living with addiction receives treatment. Murthy states:
“We would never tolerate a situation where only one in 10 people with cancer or diabetes gets treatment, and yet we do that with substance-abuse disorders.”
A National Summit With The Surgeon General
At Family Recovery Specialists, we hope that you will take some time out of your day to learn more about “Facing Addiction in America: A National Summit with The Surgeon General.” You can find the video below; it is lengthy but there is a lot of good information. (Please Note: Video starts at about 1 minute 36 seconds.)
If you are having trouble watching, please click here.
Going Forward…Join the Conversation
As the holiday season begins, we feel this is the perfect time to join the conversation and consider Dr. Murthy’s call to action. Please remember, if you’re experiencing problems starting a conversation about your loved one’s addiction symptoms (including opioids), then please know Family Recovery Specialists’ adolescent and adult substance abuse counselors are available to guide you or your loved one through the intervention process, detoxification services and therapeutic counseling.
Our program consists of education, individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy and random drug screening for all participants. We provide highly individualized and comprehensive services for addiction and recovery and utilize best practices to serve all our clients and families.