Vivek H. Murthy, The U. S. Surgeon General has issued a call for health care professionals, to sign a pledge to better understand and support national efforts to address the opioid epidemic abuse currently being experienced in the United States. It is estimated that nearly 2 million people in the U.S. have a prescription opioid use disorder.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
1. As many as 1 in 4 people receiving long term opioid therapy (in primary care settings) struggle with opioid addiction.
3. 249,000,000 prescriptions for opioids were writing in 2013 which is enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills.
3. There has been a 300% increase in opioid prescription sales since 1999 without an overall change in reported pain.
The “Turn The Tide” campaign calls on health care professionals to:
1. Educate themselves on treating pain safely and effectively.
2. Screen patients for opioid use disorder and help provide them with evidence-based treatment.
3. Shape how the rest of the country sees addiction by talking about and treating it as a chronic illness, not a moral failing.
The Surgeon General’s office has created a website which provides an overview of information on types of commonly prescribed opioids, non-opioid treatments for chronic pain, assessments used to screen patients for substance use disorders, and more. A pledge can be signed on the website.