You Can Do Something About the Opioid Crisis. (Yes, You.)

January 2, 2019

Oftentimes in today’s complex world, it can seem as if the problems we face as a society are insurmountable—that the solutions are beyond our reach as individuals. The opioid crisis in America may appear like it fits into that category. Overdose deaths in 2017 increased by nearly 10 percent to more than 70,000 with the majority (nearly 48,000) caused by opioids and illicitly made synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams, has launched a new initiative to cut the number of deaths caused by opioids. As part of this effort, the Surgeon General issued a call to you, me, and all Americans to get involved. The Surgeon General’s office is offering tangible, concrete steps we can take to raise awareness, prevent opioid misuse, and reduce overdose deaths. “We need to work together to put an end to stigma,” Adams says. “Addiction is a brain disease that touches families across America—even my own.” His younger brother, Philip, has battled with addiction and has cycled in and out of prison for years.

The Surgeon General is asking every American to do the following:

  • Talk about opioid misuse. Have a conversation about preventing drug misuse and overdose.
  • Be safe. Only take opioid medications as prescribed, make sure to store medication in a secure place, and dispose of unused medication properly.
  • Understand pain and talk with your healthcare provider. Treatments other than opioids can be effective in managing pain.
  • Understand that addiction is a chronic disease. With the right treatment and supports, people do recover.
  • Be prepared. Get and learn how to use naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing drug.

He has also issued a handy digital postcard with this information which can be found online at

We encourage you to download the postcard, share it with friends and family and to get involved. This is a problem we can solve.