File - In this Feb. 4, 2014, photo, then U.S. Surgeon General appointee Dr. Vivek Murthy appears on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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Surgeon general report: 'Addiction not a character flaw'In what may be his last significant act as President Barack Obama's surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy released a report Thursday calling for a major cultural shift in the way that Americans view drug and alcohol addiction. While its findings have been reported elsewhere, including by other federal agencies, the report seeks to inspire action and sway public opinion in the style of the 1964 surgeon general's landmark report on smoking.With President-elect Donald Trump taking office, it's uncertain whether access to addiction treatment will improve or deteriorate. Trump and the Republican-led Congress are pledging to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which made addiction treatment an essential health benefit.MEDICATION MYTHSThe surgeon general's report refutes abstinence-only philosophies as unscientific and supports medications such as buprenorphine and methadone that are used to treat opioid addition.That may annoy supporters of traditional 12-step programs who see medications as substituting one addiction for another.Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction can take time.
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