Last year, Senator Markey and Leader McConnell originally called for a Surgeon General’s report on the opioid epidemic, criteria for measuring federal efforts to reduce opioid dependence and abuse

Washington (November 15, 2016) – In preparation for the release later this week of the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on substance use, addiction, and health, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement in hopes that the report will serve as a call to action for the opioid crisis. In 2015, Senator Markey and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) first called on the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a Surgeon General’s Report and Call to Action on prescription opioid and heroin abuse. Nearly 30,000 people in the United States died from an opioid overdose in 2014. Through September of this year, Massachusetts has suffered nearly 1,000 opioid related overdose deaths, and authorities have estimated that this number will more than double by the end of the year, in part fueled by the deadly rise of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. 

Below is a statement from Senator Markey:

“Given the magnitude and continued growth of this epidemic, this Surgeon General’s Report must serve as a seminal document outlining the scope of the crisis and how we can spur national efforts to assist communities most in need. States and communities need to understand the financial burdens caused by opioid abuse, dependence and addiction so they can better plan their budgets and allocate resources. Our medical and public health community need to understand the science and health impacts of the opioid crisis so that they can develop targeted research programs aimed at developing best practices for opioid prevention, treatment and recovery. Congress needs to understand the nationwide economic impacts of the prescription drug and heroin crisis so that it can allocate funding to help communities in need. And we must all understand the tragic impacts – in human terms – that this epidemic is having on families across the country.

“Various federal departments have recently announced new initiatives focused on opioids, which must be measured and documented for effectiveness. The Surgeon General is in a unique position to assist in this effort. This report will serve as a first step in what needs to be a comprehensive national effort to address this public health emergency.


“Fifty years ago, the landmark Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of smoking was a catalyst in the effort to end the tobacco epidemic, and it helped save countless lives. Today, in 2016, this new Surgeon Generals’ report on substance abuse must be a clarion call to address the public health crisis of addiction. I look forward to the release of the report later this week and pledge to work with the administration and my Senate colleagues to dedicate the attention and resources necessary to combat this scourge.”