Today marks the release of the Surgeon General’s landmark report on addiction. Titled “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report On Alcohol, Drugs, and Health”, it’s the first report on this topic from a Surgeon General and is meant to change the way our society approaches this important issue.
This report couldn’t have come at a more important time, as there are over 27 million people in the United States currently using illicit drugs or misusing prescription drugs, and over 66 million people (nearly a quarter of the adult and adolescent population) reported binge drinking in the past month. Unfortunately only 1 in 10 people struggling with addiction receive the treatment that they need.
The report makes it easy for everyone to understand the science of addiction and establishes the evidence for prevention, treatment, and recovery policies and programs that really work. It challenges the widely-held belief that addiction is a moral weakness and instead replaces that notion with facts, showcasing that addiction is actually a chronic neurological disease. Unfortunately, according to the report, while there is excellent scientific evidence on how to treat addiction like a disease, this knowledge has actually outpaced society’s ability and, in some cases, willingness to use it.
The report has important information that you and your family need to know about preventing drug misuse, but getting through this lengthy document may be a little much. So we’ve made it easy for you. Today we are asking everyone in the country to Face Addiction Over Dinner and sit down with their family to talk about drugs, alcohol and health. It turns out that sitting down regularly to dinner with your family can reduce the risk of drug abuse in your children by fifty percent. This is important because 9 out of 10 people with substance abuse problems started using alcohol or drugs before the age of 18.
To help with this National Night of Conversation we’ve worked with The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to create a discussion guide based on the findings of the Surgeon General’s Report. You can download the guide here on our website.
To show your support and participation, post your own picture of an empty dinner plate on your social media platform of choice with the hashtag #NightofConversation.