Surgeon General’s Report on Substance Use, Addiction, and Health

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has announced that he will release this year the first ever Surgeon General’s Report presenting the state of the science on substance use, addiction, and health. The report will examine the health effects of drug and alcohol misuse from the perspectives of prevention, treatment, recovery, neurobiology, and delivery of care.  He said:

“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…which is why I’m proud to announce that next year, I will be releasing the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on substance use, addiction, and health.”

According to the announcement,

“Substance use/misuse and addiction represent a significant and substantial public health challenge. It is estimated that 27.0 million Americans aged 12 or older were currently illicit drug users (defined as using any of the following in the past 30 days: Marijuana/hashish, cocaine/crack, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or non-medical use of prescription-type psychotherapeutics such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) and 16.3 million were heavy drinkers (defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on five or more days in the past 30 days). Approximately 6.5 million people aged 12 and older reported currently using psychotherapeutics non-medically.”  (2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)  

The report’s scope is intended to be broad and comprehensive, and its goal is to capture the current landscape of the impact of alcohol and drug issues on health. The report is intended to: (1) provide a comprehensive review of the research literature on substance use, addiction, and health, summarizing the science on substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery; (2) outline potential future direction; and (3) educate, encourage, and call upon all Americans to take action.  Integrated primary care and behavioral health providers caring for patients with substance use disorders may be interested in the following areas of focus:

  • the co-occurrence of substance use disorders and other diseases and disorders;
  • the state of health care access and coverage as it relates to substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery; and
  • the integration of substance use disorders, mental health, and physical health care in clinical settings.

The full notice is at: Commission of a Surgeon General's Report on Substance Use, Addiction, and Health (PDF - 168.87 KB)


Posted March 2016