Dr. Vivek Murthy, the United States’ surgeon general, has sent out a letter to every doctor in the country as a call to arms against the opioid addiction fight that plagues the U.S.
Asking for his peers’ assistance, he highlights overdose deaths quadrupling since 1999, which coincides with increased prescriptions of potent painkillers. It’s gotten to the point that on average, for every American adult, there’s a bottle of pills to satisfy each American.
“I am asking for your help to solve an urgent health crisis facing America: the opioid epidemic,” Murthy writes in his letter. “Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses.”
The issue is, which Murthy details in his letter, is doctors aren’t educating themselves on the truly addictive properties of painkillers. When these doctors were going to school in the past, they were urged to be open-minded about alternative pain treatments – namely prescription meds.
“Many of us were even taught – incorrectly – that opioids are not addictive when prescribed for legitimate pain,” he writes.
As a part of the letter, he also asks doctors to take a pledge; check it out here.
Federal numbers show 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose; between 2000-2014 alone, nearly half a million people died from overdoses. Pain killer addiction is fueling another addiction – heroin – as they’re both opioids, the only difference being the latter is illegal.