- November 17, 2016
Today, I’m standing with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and several of the nation’s leading advocates to release the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Addiction. This is a watershed moment for all of us who have spent our lives advocating for the millions of Americans affected by these diseases, and it is a tremendous step forward for our country.
Having a Surgeon General’s report will help do for addiction what previous reports did for smoking and mental health: change public opinion, public policy, and public health. Today’s findings confirm, once and for all, that addiction is a biological disorder, not something that’s rooted in a moral failing.
This report also gives us a critical opportunity to press the upcoming Congress and administration to take action on parity, namely insurance reimbursement for addiction treatment and disclosure of medical management practices that perpetuate a “separate and unequal” system of care for these illnesses. I also applaud the Surgeon General’s position that medication assisted therapy for opioid addiction is the gold standard of care, marrying good science with an urgent public health crisis, which is having a devastating impact on this nation.
I applaud the Surgeon General and his team of advisors on issuing this report, and I stand ready, with my fellow advocates, to implement its recommendations.
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Just as President Kennedy rallied the nation to dream big and set audacious goals 50 years ago, The Kennedy Forum seeks to set a new standard for the future of health care in the United States.
Our mission is big, and the stakes are clear. We seek to unite the health care system, and rally the mental health community around a common set of principles: Fully implement the 2008 parity law, bring business leaders and government agencies together to eliminate issues of stigma, work with providers to guarantee equal access to care, ensure that policymakers have the tools they need to craft better policy, and give consumers a way to understand their rights.