In the May/June issue of Public Health Reports, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, addresses the nation’s opioid crisis. Today, more Americans die because of drug overdoses than because of car crashes, and most of these overdoses involve some form of opioid—either prescription opioids (e.g., oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine) or illicit opioids (e.g., heroin). Since 2000, overdose deaths from opioid drugs have more than quadrupled, translating to nearly one death every half hour. And, overdose deaths are just the tip of the opioid crisis. In a 2016 report, more than 10 million Americans reported nonmedical use of prescription opioids and 900,000 Americans reported use of heroin in the past year. People who have a prescription opioid use disorder are 40 times more likely than those without this disorder to use heroin, and these individuals are more likely to inject opioids, which substantially increases their risk of infection from human immunodeficiency virus and the hepatitis B and C viruses.
In the article Dr. Murthy recognizes the impact on the people and families behind the statistics, and discusses the efforts being made within the Office of the Surgeon General, the government and communities to help helping to change how America thinks about substance use disorders and addiction. Read the full article here.
The official journal of the U.S. Public Health Service and the U.S. Surgeon General since 1878, Public Health Reports serves as an informative and accessible resource for practitioners, professors, scholars, and students of public health. Published in collaboration with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), the bi-monthly, peer-reviewed journal provides important research and presents key discussions on the major issues confronting the public health community.