Wednesday, November 23, 2016

United States Report Signals Shift in Alcohol Policy

Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General
     A “landmark” report from the US surgeon general that signals a shift in alcohol policy towards reducing stigma surrounding addiction has been welcomed by trade associations in the country.   Published 17 November, 2016, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, marks the first time a US Surgeon General has dedicated a report to substance misuse and related disorders.
    “Alcohol and drug addiction take an enormous toll on individuals, families, and communities,” said Dr Vivek Murthy, US surgeon general.   “Most Americans know someone who has been touched by an alcohol or a drug use disorder. Yet 90 percent of people with a substance use disorder are not getting treatment and that has to change.”
     The report calls for action to reduce the stigma associated with addiction, to change the way people perceive substance abuse disorders, to better recognize substance misuse and to expand access to treatment.  “It’s time to change how we view addiction as a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency and compassion. The way we address this crisis is a test for America.”       “We are pleased to see the surgeon general’s report acknowledges that moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy diet for adults,” said The Distilled Spirits Council, Beer Institute and Wine Institute in a joint statement.

     “We also welcome the Surgeon General’s efforts to destigmatize treatment and recovery for those for whom alcohol consumption is a concern.   “The prevailing and widely accepted research shows that one-size-fits-all policies, including advertising bans and tax increases, fail to effectively address the problem of alcohol abuse, divert resources from more targeted approaches, and unfairly and negatively impact moderate and responsible consumers.