Surgeon General Asks All Doctors for Help in Addressing Opioid Crisis

Surgeon General Asks All Doctors for Help in Addressing Opioid Crisis
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has sent a letter to every doctor in the country, asking for their help in solving the opioid epidemic, CNN reports. Murthy is asking all doctors to sign a pledge at TurnTheTideRx.org to educate themselves to treat pain safely and effectively; to screen patients for opioid use disorder and provide or connect them with evidence-based treatment; and to talk about and treat addiction as a chronic illness, not a moral failing. “I know solving this problem will not be easy,” Murthy wrote. “We often struggle to balance reducing our patients’ pain with increasing their risk of opioid addiction. But, as clinicians, we have the unique power to help end this epidemic.”
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Addiction a Chronic Disease of the Brain, Not a Character Flaw: Surgeon General

Addiction a Chronic Disease of the Brain, Not a Character Flaw: Surgeon General
Many people still see addiction as a character flaw instead of a chronic disease of the brain, according to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. He told The Huffington Post that to address the opioid epidemic, it is necessary to “change how our country sees addiction.” Almost two million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids, Dr. Murthy told the publication’s Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington. “We can work on sharpening our prescribing practices, working with clinicians to ensure we’re treating pain safely and effectively,” he said. Doctors need to be more equipped with skills for “how to recognize and treat substance use disorders to ensure that all the needs of a patient population are cared for.”
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Opioid Epidemic Puts New Focus on Sober Housing on College Campuses

Opioid Epidemic Puts New Focus on Sober Housing on College Campuses
The opioid epidemic is increasing interest in college sober housing, PBS NewsHour reports. Sober dorms offer substance-free housing and activities for students in recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Rutgers University in New Jersey pioneered the concept of sober housing in 1988, the article notes. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation last year that requires all state college and universities to offer sober housing if at least one-quarter of students live on campus. Schools will have four years to comply. Texas Tech has had substance-free housing since 2011, while Oregon State University will offer sober housing this coming school year. The University of Vermont launched a recovery program in 2010, which includes sober housing. Sober dorms are a “major new development in the recovery movement. They’re unique because they get to the heart of the beast,” said Dr. Robert DuPont, who heads the drug policy think tank the...
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Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers on the Decline

Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers on the Decline
The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers is declining in the United States, a sign that the opioid epidemic may be peaking, The New York Times reports. Opioid prescriptions decreased in 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the newspaper’s review of several data sources. Before that, doctors were writing so many opioid prescriptions that there were enough for every American adult to have their own bottle, the article notes. The decline indicates that doctors have begun listening to warnings about the drugs’ addictive potential, and that government efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions are having an effect, experts say. “The culture is changing,” said Dr. Bruce Psaty, a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, who studies drug safety. “We are on the downside of a curve with opioid prescribing now.” According to the information firm IMS Health, there has been a 12 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions nationwide since...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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