Dr. Vivek Murthy: The Global Epidemic of Addiction
During his tenure as the 19th US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy—the first Indian American to serve in the role—delved deeply into the country's problems with addiction, which have worsened in part due to an almost quadrupling in opiate prescriptions since 1999. Here he discusses the epidemic’s growth on a global scale, his efforts to curb the crisis through creating a “culture of prevention” and ways in which emotional well-being can be improved overall.
On the severity of the opioid crisis: “The opioid epidemic is, I believe, the defining public health challenge of our time. It’s an incredibly important issue and one that’s not getting better.
On the global nature of the epidemic: “When you look around the world, there are many other countries that are perhaps 10 or 15 years behind where we are in the epidemic…[with] populations that don’t have nearly the kind of public health infrastructure or budget that our country does…We can no longer draw a line around the borders of the United States…global health and domestic health are deeply intertwined."
On improving emotional well-being: “Our goal is not solely to create a population that does not have a diagnosable mental illness, it's to allow people to actually function at the highest level of their mental and emotional well-being.”