The United States continues to battle opioid addiction and Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, the country’s Surgeon General, has released a report in an effort to educate the public about substance use disorders.
The report, “Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids,” outlines the dangers of opioids. It also includes five recommendations for individuals and families fighting addiction.
Highlights from the Spotlight on Opioids Report
The Surgeon General’s report stated that 42,249 deaths in 2016 involved opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects that number to increase to 47,872 for 2017.
Opioids are capable of depressing critical areas in the brain that control heart rate, breathing and body temperature. Disruptions to these systems can lead to death.
In the realm of addiction treatment, the Surgeon General strongly recommends making medication-assisted treatment (MAT) more available. MAT involves the use of medications to help people cope with addiction.
MAT is an evidence-based therapy that can lower health care costs for patients with a substance use disorder. It is also endorsed by 16 insurers and was included in the U.S. Senate’s recent Opioid Crisis Response Act.
The Surgeon General’s report recommends more open discussions about addiction and potential solutions.
Five Recommendations for Individuals and Families
The Surgeon General’s report on opioid addiction also provided five recommendations for individuals and families to take to prevent opioid abuse, raise awareness and reduce opioid overdose deaths.
- Discuss opioid abuse: Finding ways to eliminate the stigma associated with addiction can help reduce the opioid epidemic. Those who experience an opioid use disorder or those who have already recovered should feel safe in speaking up and having open conversations about their experiences.
- Stay safe: People who must take opioid medications should only take them as prescribed, ensure that they are stored in a safe and secure place, and learn how to dispose of unused medications properly.
- Understand pain and talk to your medical provider: Opioids are addictive substances and not the only way to manage pain. Speak with your healthcare provider about alternatives.
- Understand that addiction is a chronic disease: The Surgeon General writes that addiction is a disease that is both preventable and treatable. It is not something to be ashamed of, nor is it a moral shortcoming.
- Be prepared. No one can predict the future when it comes to substance abuse. Learn about the life-saving drug naloxone. Find out how to acquire it and when and how to use it.
Get Compassionate and Qualified Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you or any of your loved ones are fighting addiction, you do not have to face this battle alone. The Recovery Village is a facility that offers comprehensive addiction treatment services that are delivered by qualified and compassionate staff. You will have the opportunity to receive supervised detox followed by the type of rehab services that will best suit your needs.