Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

The Surgeon General recently released a report: U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol Drugs, and Health (2016)

It is available at this link.

The report is far too long to adequately summarize, but it is an excellent resource for helping to explain to judges and others the issues with substance abuse disorders - e.g. risk/protective factors, relapse, and proper treatment.

For judges who don't get the problems of drug addiction and see it as a moral failing, this quote is worthwhile:

“We also need a cultural shift in how we think about addiction. For far too long, too many in our country have viewed addiction as a moral failing. This unfortunate stigma has created an added burden of shame that has made people with substance use disorders less likely to come forward and seek help. It has also made it more challenging to marshal the necessary investments in prevention and treatment. We must help everyone see that addiction is not a character flaw – it is a chronic illness that we must approach with the same skill and compassion with which we approach heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.” Id. at V. (statement of U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD., M.B.A.)

The report also favors drug courts as a "very successful model for diverting people with substance use disorders away from incarceration and into treatment.” Id. at 7-15.

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