U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams told an auditorium full of doctors, nurses and other medical providers at The Medical Center, Navicent Health Tuesday morning that there are solutions to the nation’s opioid addiction.
Adams first cited some of the alarming statistics related to the opioid epidemic: A person dies of opioid overdose in the U.S. every 11 minutes with more than 130 people dying every day.
Then the nation’s top doctor shared ways that his office is working to change those statistics and ways that communities like Macon can reduce opioid deaths.
“I put out the first Surgeon General’s advisory in over 13 years, last year, calling on more people to know about and carry Nalaxone (a life-saving medication the counters the effects of opioids),” Dr. Adams said.
He said sharing stories about the people who are fighting addiction will help others see the disease for what it is.
“It’s by sharing our stories that we normalize addiction, that we help people understand that addition is a disease and not a moral failing and that there are effective treatments available,” he said.
Adams commended the Macon community for developing partnerships that have been successful in addressing the issue.
He encouraged different groups to continue working together, saying the tragedy of the epidemic could be turned into an opportunity.
“It’s an opportunity for you to meet with people who you wouldn’t have ordinary met with — faith-based community, public safety officers, politicians... It’s important for us to understand that this opioid epidemic has really helped us all understand that we’re in this together and that we all have a role to play,” Dr. Adams said.