Latinos are the largest minority group in the U.S., at over 17 percent of the population. It is estimated that, by 2060, this will rise to nearly 29 percent. Immigration to the U.S. is often prompted by the possibility of improved life circumstances, including greater access to jobs, health care, education and other opportunities for their families.
The past few years have seen an explosion in the use of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), especially among young people. Since e-cigarettes entered the U.S. market several years ago, the news and information posted online and on social media often contain contradictory and confusing messages about their potential risks and benefits. This has led many cigarette smokers to wonder if e-cigarettes will help them stop smoking and many parents to wonder if e-cigarettes are safe for kids to use.
Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin, has nearly quadrupled. In September, for the first time, the White House designated a Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. As part of this awareness week, President Obama called for expanding access to prevention and treatment services for opioid use disorders.
The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, calls for a wholesale change to the way we address substance use and addiction in our country by treating it as a health issue rather than a moral failing. The blueprint set forth in the report is comprehensive and multi-faceted, but the prominent theme that underlies its findings and recommendations is the importance of research in informing addiction policy, prevention and treatment. This recognition of the critical role that research should play in transforming addiction care will have a profound effect on improving access to treatment and reducing the stigma surrounding addiction that has long served as a barrier to effective prevention, treatment and policy.
The new Surgeon General’s report, which presents a comprehensive public health approach to addressing the scourge of addiction in our society, is just the impetus our nation needs to finally implement a research-based rather than a punitive and moralistic approach to addiction care.
The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health was released today and shines a much needed spotlight on substance misuse and addiction and provides a long overdue call for significant changes to how we address this top public health problem. We applaud the Surgeon General for fully embracing addiction as a medical condition, a position Center on Addiction has long held and which is reflected in our mission to connect science with policy and practice to better the lives of all people impacted by substance use and addiction.
As we continue to read and hear dire stories about the heroin epidemic, new and more dangerous opioids seem to be emerging at a rapid pace. Another narcotic that is now a part of this epidemic is called carfentanil. Though it is sold mixed into – or “cut” with – heroin and other drugs, carfentanil is so potent that even the smallest dose can cause an overdose and death.
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