Senator Markey and Leader McConnell first asked for Surgeon General’s report in May

Washington (October 5, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today applauded the announcement by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy that his office will issue the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on substance use, addiction, and health. Earlier this year in May, 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 drug and heroin abuse. In Massachusetts alone, 2014 saw a 33 percent increase in overdoses from heroin or prescription painkillers since 2012, with more than 1,000 fatalities.  Similar statistics in Kentucky show that the state continues to lose more than 1,000 lives to overdoses each year.  In 2013, nearly 32 percent of these overdoses in Kentucky involved heroin. Surgeon General Murthy also announced the Surgeon General’s office is going to launch a national campaign to tackle the prescription drug crisis.

“Fifty years ago, the landmark Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of smoking was a benchmark in the effort to end the tobacco epidemic, and it helped save countless lives. Now, in 2015, this new Surgeon Generals’ report on substance abuse report will be a call to action to end the public health crisis of addiction.


“Addiction strikes without regard to age, race, gender, employment, or socio-economic status. This epidemic knows no geographic boundaries, and our response should know no political boundaries. That’s why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and I first called for this report in May, and I thank Surgeon General Murthy for his leadership announcing it.


“But this report is just the first step in what needs to be a comprehensive national effort to address this public health emergency. We must stop the over-prescription of opioid pain medication. We must prevent addiction before it takes hold. And we must expand treatment and recovery efforts that work.


“We must let those who are struggling with addiction that help is on the way and their voices will be heard not just in Washington, but in every state capitol in America.  We must let them know that no matter how dark life seems right now, that there is hope and we stand united to end this crisis of addiction in our communities now and for generations to come.”