In 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry issued a landmark report on tobacco and health that changed the course of American history, spurring the decline of smoking in the United States.
More than 50 years later, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy hopes he can do something similar for addiction. Murthy’s new report on alcohol, drugs and health is the first in which a surgeon general addresses substance use disorders as a disease the nation can address.
In the more than 400-page report “Facing Addiction in America,” released Thursday, Murthy recommends evidence-based early interventions for young people, expanding treatment programs that have been proven to work, and investing in substance use prevention and treatment research.
A few specific recommendations include adding addiction screenings in primary health care settings and hospitals, creating recovery-based high schools and colleges, and establishing community forums to emphasize the medical nature of addiction.