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Surgeon General Announces a Breakthrough Report

The Surgeon General of the United States recently announced plans for the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on substance abuse, addiction and mental health. This is a groundbreaking and exciting time in the fight against substance abuse and mental health problems. While it seems that we have no lack of reports and studies on these diseases, the Surgeon General’s Report represents a new level of focus on fighting these epidemics on a national, political scale.

“When I look out at all of you, I see a community that shouldn’t have to stand alone. So my message today is simple: I’m here to stand with you. I’m here to say that we’re going to stop treating addiction as a moral failing, and start seeing it for what it is: a chronic disease that must be treated with urgency and compassion.” ~ US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaking at the Unite to Face Addiction Rally

Within the government of the United States as well as the ranks of the substance abuse treatment industry, the dangers and effects are well known. After all, addiction affects virtually every aspect of life – family, career, finances and more. The effects are, almost without exception, devastating.

However, there is a clear information gap when it comes to the general population of the United States. For some, abuse, addiction and mental illness is just a distant problem. For others who face addiction in their (or their loved ones’) lives, they may not understand how to approach the problem and what resources are available to them. This is evidenced by less than ideal access to care and a massive gap between those suffering from addiction and those receiving appropriate care.

The Surgeon General’s Report represents a much needed and long overdue acknowledgement from the political stratus of the United States government that addiction and mental illness are real problems that need to be addressed immediately and comprehensively.