US Surgeon General Sends Letter to All Doctors With Call-to-Action on Opioid Epidemic
In a groundbreaking development, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has sent a letter to 2.3 million American doctors pleading for their help curbing this devastating opioid epidemic. This marks the first time in history that a surgeon general has sent a letter directly to American physicians.
Recognizing “that we arrived at this place on a path paved with good intentions” and discussing how early misunderstandings about the dangers of opioids, even when used as prescribed for pain, led us to where we are today, Murthy insists it is time for a change. It’s a matter of life and death. According to his letter, “since 1999 opioid deaths have quadrupled and opioid prescriptions have increased markedly – almost enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills.” In fact, a recently released report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that between 2013 and 2014, deaths from synthetic opioids skyrocketed by 79%.
These drugs, including oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl – the drug that killed Prince – are extremely powerful and increasingly potent. Murthy wrote in his letter “I know solving the problem will not be easy. We often struggle to balance reducing our patients’ pain with increasing their risk of opioid addiction. But, as clinicians, we have the unique power to end this epidemic.”
By making a deeply significant call-to-action, Murthy hopes American physicians can band together to stop this ever-spreading epidemic. By increasing education and awareness, and decreasing stigmas, we as a nation can overcome.
“Years from now, I want us to look back and know that, in the face of a crisis that threatened our nation, it was our profession that stepped up and led the way.”
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