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Opioid Epidemic Addressed by Surgeon General

Opioid Epidemic Addressed by Surgeon General - Bergand Group

For the first time in history, the surgeon general has sent out an open letter to every doctor within the United States. Every physician will be receiving a message, a plea, regarding the dire state of the opioid epidemic and the unfortunate role that doctors have played within it. Despite everyone’s good intentions in lessening the pain of their patients, there sorely needs to be change within the practice of prescriptions for the nation to heal from the current state of the opioid epidemic.

Dire Need for Change in Opioid Epidemic

Dr. Vivek Murthy is the current surgeon general in America, the first to send such a widespread request for change. His message was centered around “the urgent health crisis” in the country right now which, of course, is the opioid epidemic. Though there have been some steps taken toward addressing this epidemic, it hasn’t been enough, which is likely why Dr. Murthy stepped in.

“From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people in the United States died from overdoses related to opioid pain medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” These deaths could have been avoided if the patients had not been given dangerous prescriptions which served as the gateway to an addiction. Most who suffered received the pills directly from their doctors, too, and so physicians have to step up and take responsibility for their role in this epidemic and their role in healing and recovery, moving forward.

It isn’t only doctors who prescribe drugs, of course, and so the surgeon general also included dentists and nurse practitioners in his address. Essentially, anyone with the ability to enact change (for better or worse) in this situation received the message. This letter comes not a moment too late, considering the apparent lack of understanding regarding the dangers of these drugs within the medical community even after recent efforts to increase awareness.

“Many doctors…  learned in medical school and in residency that opioids weren’t addictive as long as a patient was truly in pain.” This gross misconception is the foundation on which the widespread overdoses have plagued the nation. It isn’t that sadistic physicians from poor medical schools are prescribing these dangerous drugs: just the opposite. And, really, everyone is making the same mistakes, which helps to explain a little how we got to this catastrophic point in the first place.

The largest issue seems, then, to be in the awareness, or lack thereof. Some may be aware of an issue, but don’t know of the nationwide extent of the damage. Some may just not think that such a thing could happen under their watch. Unfortunately, with an addictive substance, there will always be a chance for overdose no matter how well-intentioned the doctor is.

The letter’s call to action works alongside some other measures that are being taken. For example, in Massachusetts, they have “passed sweeping new regulations for prescription painkillers, including a seven-day limit on first-time adult opioid prescriptions and a seven-day limit on every opiate prescription for minors, with certain exceptions.” Strict observation and control of these substances are absolute necessities if the prescriptions are going to continue.

Take a look at the surgeon general’s letter to get a sense of what he’s asking from doctors and others with prescribing power. To get help for an addiction of any kind, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including medication management strategies.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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