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US Surgeon General writes to all US doctors about opioids

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 31 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4723
  1. Owen Dyer

The Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy, has written to 2.3 million prescribing healthcare professionals—the first time the government’s chief physician has sought their support to solve a public health crisis—urging them to help tackle America’s problem with opioids.

He wrote, “Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses. I meet families too ashamed to seek treatment for addiction. And I will never forget my own patient whose opioid use disorder began with a course of morphine after a routine procedure.”

Murthy’s letter asked doctors to take a pledge on a website and to follow a set of enclosed prescribing guidelines. He noted that opioid prescriptions had quadrupled since 1999—enough to give every adult in the US their own bottle of pills—but overall reported pain had not declined. …

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