Surgeon General Says Addiction is a Brain Disorder, Not a Moral Failing

Surgeon General Says Addiction is a Brain Disorder, Not a Moral Failing

This represents a shift in how substance abuse is perceived

A new report from US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says Americans should see addiction as a brain disorder instead of a moral failing. Murthy says that although substance abuse disorders are a public health crisis, many don’t receive the support they need.

According to the report, more people have a substance abuse disorder than have cancer, but only 10 percent receive treatment. A big reason why is because they’re ashamed of the disease.

More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and more than six out of 10 of those deaths involved an opioid. The report explains how drugs disrupt self-control and make recovery difficult.

I’m calling for a culture change in how we think about addiction," he told The Washington Post. "Unless we eradicate the negative [stereotypes] . . . we won’t create an environment where people feel comfortable coming forward and asking for help."

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