By Shannon Mallard
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams spoke at Betts Theater Monday about the opioid epidemic and community-based solutions to the crisis.
The event, titled “Better Health Through Better Partnerships,” opened with welcoming remarks from Pamela Jeffries, the dean of the School of Nursing. During his speech, Adams spoke about the importance of forming nontraditional partnerships with businesses and law enforcement, and mobilizing citizens to take action to combat the opioid epidemic and to improve public health.
Adams, who holds the rank of vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, said he and other health care professionals were once “part of the problem” by overprescribing opioids as painkillers, but now he’s “excited to be part of the solution.”
Adams divided his proposed solution to the crisis into three parts: prevention, education and the administration of Naloxone, a drug that rapidly reverses opioid overdoses.
Adams focused his remarks about education and prevention on reducing the amount of opioid medication prescribed, informing the public about alternatives to treat chronic pain and raising awareness about how to properly dispose of prescription opioids.
He encouraged health care professionals to take an active role in educating the public about important health issues and eliminating common health misconceptions, like the belief that vaccines cause autism or that prescription opioids aren’t that addictive.