Facing Addiction in America~ The Surgeon General's Spotlight on Opioids
The Spotlight on Opioids assembles opioid-related information from the Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health into one document to better inform the general public, especially family and friends of people with an elevated risk of opioid overdose, opioid misuse, and/or opioid use disorder.
Message from the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The opioid misuse and overdose crisis touches everyone in the United States. In 2016, we lost more than 115 Americans to opioid overdose deaths each day, devastating families and communities across the country. Preliminary numbers in 2017 show that this number continues to increase with more than 131 opioid overdose deaths each day. The effects of the opioid crisis are cumulative and costly for our society—an estimated $504 billion a year in 2015—placing burdens on families, workplaces, the health care system, states, and communities. Addressing the opioid crisis is a priority for this Administration, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is leading the public health-based approach to understanding the problem and taking action to fight it. HHS is tackling this crisis through our comprehensive five-point strategy focused on improving access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services; promoting use of overdose reversing drugs; strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance; providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction; and advancing better practices for pain management. Our efforts are collaborative—with all federal agencies and state and local partners working together to equip health care providers, communities, policymakers, law enforcement, and others with the information and tools they need to stem this growing epidemic. HHS also brought a new level of awareness and commitment to the cause by declaring the opioid crisis a nationwide Public Health Emergency on October 26, 2017. Since 2017, HHS has disbursed more than $2 billion in grants to fight the opioid crisis, more than any previous year. The Spotlight on Opioids document is another important step in our efforts to address the issue. This document assembles opioid-related information from Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health in one document and provides updated data on the prevalence of substance use, opioid misuse, opioid use disorders, opioid overdoses, and related harms. As the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, I encourage you to use the information and findings in this document and join us in taking action on this vital issue and making our communities healthier and stronger.
ALEX M. AZAR II
Secretary | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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