WSFA/NBC - A government report released today calls attention to a national public health crisis - drug and alcohol addiction. In fact, one in seven people will face a substance abuse disorder in life.
It took nearly 200-thousand words to explore the depth of America's problem with drug addiction in a comprehensive new report from
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
"I'm calling our country to action," Dr. Murthy said.
The report includes sobering statistics: Nearly 21-million people in the U.S. have a substance abuse disorder. That's more than the number of people with cancer. Drug overdoses are rising steadily and highly addictive opioid painkillers are used more often than tobacco.
Dr. David Edwards of Vanderbilt University Medical Center said, "More and more of my time, and more and more of my consultations are with patients who are on high dose opioids or are who addicted to opioids."
Still, the surgeon general's report finds only one in 10 people with an addiction get the help they need.
One goal of the new report is to reduce stigma attached to substance abuse.
"If we afford the same compassion and care to people living with addiction that we do to people living with any other chronic illness, then I believe we will be able to address the addiction crisis in America."
The economic impact of drug and alcohol addiction tops 400-billion dollars each year. This is the first time a surgeon general's report has focused on drug and alcohol addiction.