Nearly 21 million people are grappling with substance use disorder, with only one in 10 getting treatment for the condition, according to a lengthy new report released today by the U.S. surgeon general.
Currently, the number of people with a substance use disorder exceeds the number of people diagnosed with cancer -- any kind of cancer, according to the report. This means at least one in seven people will develop a substance use problem at some point during their lives, the report states. And, while approximately 32,744 people died from car accidents in 2014, the report found that approximately 50,000 people died from either an opioid, alcohol or other drug overdose that year. In an emotional forward, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote about nurses at his hospital asking him to step up on fighting addiction when he left to work as surgeon general.
"The nurses had one parting request for me. If you can only do one thing as Surgeon General, they said, please do something about the addiction crisis in America," Murthy wrote. "I have not forgotten their words."