Surgeon General Seeks to Change the Conversation about Opioid Addiction
(Winter 2018) Jerome Adams, the United States Surgeon General, recently encouraged a reframing of the way in which Americans speak about addiction to opioids. Adams cited stigma as one of the top reasons that only about 25% of individuals with opioid addiction receive the help they need to overcome it. This is concerning since opioids were involved in approximately two-thirds of American overdose fatalities in 2017.
Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlines how families, physicians and community officials can speak about addiction and present prevention efforts. This includes greater attention to safety in the workplace to cut down on job-related injuries that could later result in opioid abuse, as well as family members being compassionate as they encourage an addicted individual to seek treatment. The report also recommended that members of the family should keep naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal drug, with them in case of a loved one’s accidental overdose.
The HHS release commented that the department’s next objective is to educate the public that opioid addiction is not a moral weakness but a brain disease that can be overcome with treatment.
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