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Feds: 21 Million Have Substance-Use Disorder

Almost 21 million individuals in the U.S. have a substance-use disorder, the surgeon general said Thursday. A wide-ranging report—the first of its kind to be commissioned at the federal government level—found that 50,000 people died from an opioid, alcohol, or other drug overdose in 2014. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in the report that nurses in his previous hospital asked him to “do something about the addiction crisis” in the U.S. “I recognize there is no single solution. We need more policies and programs that increase access to proven treatment modalities,” Murthy wrote. “We need to invest more in expanding the scientific evidence base for prevention, treatment, and recovery.” He also called for a “cultural shift in how we think about addiction,” namely not evaluating addiction as a “moral failing.”