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The Source: Should Addiction Be Treated As Illness?

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Alcohol and drug misuse and related disorders are major public health challenges that require public health solutions, according to a recently released report from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

The first-ever Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health shows nearly 21 million Americans suffer from substance abuse disorders - more than the number of people with all kinds of cancer, combined - and these disorders cost the United States more than $420 billion a year.

While one of every seven people in the United States is expected to develop a substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives, only 1 in 10 will receive treatment. This treatment gap is a result of many factors, and the report identifies substance misuse as a critical public health challenge that can lead to substance use disorders, such as addiction.

"It's time to change how we view addiction," the Surgeon General said, "Not as a moral failing, but as a chronic illness."