Highlights: AHA Leadership Summit
August 13, 2018
Comments from the U.S. Surgeon General at AHA's Leadership Summit
At the opening keynote for the 26th Annual American Hospital Association Leadership Summit, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D. shared his thoughts surrounding the opioid epidemic. Adams stated combatting the opioid epidemic is the top priority for his office and the administration, and they are focusing on three critical areas – prevention, education and naloxone. "We must educate the public about the opioid epidemic and destigmatize addiction," he said. "This must be treated with skill, compassion and urgency." In April, Adams issued a public health advisory urging Americans who misuse opioids, have an opioid use disorder or recent overdose, or know someone who does, to carry and know how to use naloxone – a drug that can be delivered via nasal mist or injection to temporarily suspend the effects of an overdose until emergency responders arrive. "And, make no mistake about it, Naloxone availability is just the first step," Adams said. "We have to save a life first, but we need to increase awareness about prevention and treatment about opioid issues and opioid treatment. That's why I am so excited to announce that this fall, my office will be collaborating with AHA to provide concrete actions for hospitals and health systems and the public to help end the opioid epidemic."
Adams also challenged hospital and health system leaders to "be the quarterbacks" in their community on efforts to improve health. "Leverage your platform to gather non-traditional partners and policymakers and bring them to the table."