The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy sent a letter to 2.3 million American health professionals this week, asking them to lead a national movement to turn the tide on the nation’s prescription opioid epidemic. The letter contains a pocket card outlining the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines.

This is the first time that a U.S. Surgeon General has sent a letter directly to the nation’s health professionals seeking their support in addressing a public health crisis.

The Surgeon General urges clinicians to visit a website his office launched this month,, where they can pledge their commitment to combating opioid misuse by

  • enhancing education for treating pain,
  • screening patients for opioid use disorder, and
  • leading a shift in the public perception of addiction so that it is treated as chronic illness rather than as a moral failing

This effort builds upon the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Opioid Initiative focused on tackling the nation’s opioid epidemic, as well as the National Pain Strategy, the federal government’s first coordinated plan to reduce the burden of chronic pain in the U.S.

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Contact: ASH Media Office