On December 31, 2015, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Office of the Surgeon General announced the commissioning of a first-ever Surgeon General’s Report presenting the state of the science on substance use, addiction, and health. The report will examine the health effects of drug and alcohol misuse from the perspectives of prevention, treatment, recovery, neurobiology, and delivery of care.
Areas of focus in the report are expected to include the history of the prevention, treatment, and recovery fields; components of the substance use continuum (i.e., prevention, treatment, and recovery); epidemiology of substance use, misuse, and substance use disorders; etiology of substance misuse and related disorders; neurobiological base of substance misuse and related disorders; risk and protective factors; application of scientific research in the field, including methods, challenges, and current and future directions; social, economic, and health consequences of substance misuse; co-occurrence of substance use disorders and other diseases and disorders; the state of health care access and coverage as it relates to substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery; integration of substance use disorders, mental health, and physical health care in clinical settings; and national, state, and local initiatives to assess and improve the quality of care for substance misuse and related disorders.
Most importantly, perhaps, is the study of the organization and financing of prevention, treatment, and recovery services within the health care system as well as the ethical, legal, and policy issues. For me, everything else is window dressing. We don’t need a report to determine there is a drug misuse problem in this country. We need a consensus on both treatment and, separately, recovery-support services, to avoid forum shopping by patients and providers to find the states offering services. This is a national problem requiring a national response.
For further information, contact:
Jinhee Lee, Pharm.D., Public Health Advisor
SAMHSA/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857