HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report on addiction released by theSurgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, will raise awareness and help galvanize action toward getting treatment for people with substance use disorder (SUD), said Pennsylvania
"This first-ever report on addiction by the nation's top doctor elevates public awareness and treatment of drug and alcohol addiction as a disease," said Tennis. "The report classifies SUD as a chronic condition, like heart disease or diabetes, and recommends parity in health care treatment.
"We are in the middle of the worst opioid epidemic in history, and this report confirms it," said Tennis. "Many Pennsylvanians know someone suffering from the disease of addiction or they may be suffering themselves. The results of this disease are devastating it has a terrible impact on crime, health of the individual and the family, quality of life, vehicle crashes, workplace injuries. Most importantly, left untreated it is ultimately fatal."
Last year, more than 3,500 people died in the Commonwealth from overdoses, said Tennis, surpassing the number of people who died from automobile accidents. He said the fatality rate for 2016 will be even higher.
More than 27 million people in the United States reported current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, while more than 66 million people reported binge drinking, according to the report. Deaths from drug overdoses across the nation hit a record of 47,055 in 2014, propelled by prescription painkiller and heroin abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"In addition to being a public health and societal crisis, the report underscored that this epidemic has a huge economic impact on our country," said Tennis.
Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health found the estimated annual economic impact of drug abuse is $193 billion, while the estimated economic impact of alcohol abuse is $249 billion. Treatment is effective for both helping individuals enter and stay in recovery, said Tennis.
"As the Surgeon General has said, every dollar invested in treatment saves $4 in healthcare costs and lost productivity and another $7 in criminal justice costs. It is both inhumane and fiscally irrational to not fully address the treatment needs of our population and yet, according to the Surgeon General, we have enough treatment nationally to meet only 10 percent of what's needed."
The report, said Tennis, includes evidence that prevention, treatment, recovery policies and programs do work and encourages communities to organize coalitions to determine local levels of risk and protective factors and substance misuse problems.
"Pennsylvania is already following recommendations in this report," said Tennis, who cited initiatives underway in the Commonwealth including:
"I applaud Surgeon General Murthy for calling for a 'culture change' in the way we address addictions. It's time to get rid of negative stereotypes," said Tennis. "Addiction is a brain disease, not a moral failing.
"Stigmatizing the disease, so that our loved ones feel too ashamed to get help, only increases the number of Pennsylvanians who will die unnecessarily," said Tennis. "By uniting in the fight against stigmatizing attitudes and policies, we are taking a stand for safer, healthier, happier families and communities."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to Download/View audio and video for your news stories. See Gary Tennis, DDAP Secretary, talk about Pennsylvania's opioid epidemic and state strategies that supplement the Surgeon General's report.
MEDIA CONTACT: DDAP: Carol Gifford, 717-547-3314 or 717-304-0079 (cell), [email protected]
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/secretary-gary-tennis-surgeon-generals-report-on-addiction-helps-galvanize-action-in-opioid-epidemic-300368238.html
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
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