Kennedy: SG report is a critical step forward on addiction

Patrick J. Kennedy and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy at Surgeon General Report on Addiction release

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.