In order to end what he said was a public health crisis of drug and alcohol addiction that is both underappreciated and undertreated, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a call to action on Thursday.
Dr. Vivek Murthy issued the first-ever Surgeon General's report on substance abuse. He said he hopes it will galvanize work on the issue the way a similar report 50 years ago sparked decades of effort to combat smoking.
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. deaths from drug overdoses hit a record in 2014, increasing 6.5 percent to 47,055. The deaths were propelled by prescription painkiller and heroin abuse.
Murthy said in an interview, "The most important thing is, we have to change attitudes towards addiction and get people into treatment. Addiction is a disease of the brain not a character flaw."
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