Just released: More people in U.S. have substance abuse disorder than all cancers combined

Surgeon General Murthy Wants America To Face Up To Addiction

Addiction to opioids and heroin is a major public health problem, but so is alcohol abuse.

Toby Talbot/AP

In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general released a report on the health impacts of smoking, and it shaped the public and government’s attitudes toward tobacco for years to come. On Thursday, another surgeon general’s report was issued, this time tackling a much broader issue: addiction and the misuse and abuse of chemical substances. The focus isn’t just one drug, but all of them.

Though little in the report is new, it puts impressive numbers to the problem, and some surprising context: More people use prescription opioids than use tobacco. There are more people with substance abuse disorders than people with cancer. One in five Americans binge drink. And substance abuse disorders cost the U.S. more than $420 billion a year.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, who is closing in on his second year as surgeon general, told NPR’s Steve Inskeep Thursday on Morning Edition that he hopes putting all the data together will help Americans understand that these problems share a common solution. And it starts with kids. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.


Interview Highlights

On the prevalence of substance abuse in the United States

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says there is evidence for what works to prevent substance abuse, but it’s often not applied.

Charles Dharapak/AP

An estimated 20.8 million people in our country are living with a substance use disorder. This is similar to the number of people who have diabetes, and 1.5 times the number of people who have all cancers combined. This number does not include the millions of people who are misusing substances but may not yet have a full-fledged disorder. We don’t invest nearly the same amount of attention or resources in addressing substance use disorders that we do in addressing diabetes or cancer, despite the fact that a similar number of people are impacted. That has to change.

We now know from solid data that substance abuse disorders don’t discriminate. They affect the rich and the poor, all socioeconomic groups and ethnic groups. They affect people in urban areas and rural ones. Far more people than we realize are affected. It’s important for us to bring people out from the shadows, and get them the help that they need.

On the economic impact of substance use disorders

The impact this is having on the health and well being of our country, as well as our economy, is quite staggering. These substance use disorders cost over $420 billion a year in the form of health care costs, lost economic productivity, and cost to the criminal justice system. We measure numbers like this for other illnesses, too, and the cost for substance abuse disorders far exceeds the cost of diabetes.

On shifting views of substance disorders

For far too long people have thought about substance abuse disorders as a disease of choice, a character flaw or a moral failing. We underestimated how exposure to addictive substances can lead to full blown addiction.

Opioids are a good example.

Now we understand that these disorders actually change the circuitry in your brain. They affect your ability to make decisions, and change your reward system and your stress response. That tells us that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, and we need to treat it with the same urgency and compassion that we do with any other illness.

The opioid crisis has certainly received a lot of attention, and it is certainly tearing apart families and costing us in terms of lives lost and health care dollars. But in terms of actual cost, we lose the most lives and suffer the most costs from alcohol related disorders and alcohol related addiction. In 2015, about 66 million people reported that they’d engaged in at least one episode of binge drinking in the previous month. That’s a pretty astounding number. And in 2015, roughly 28 million people reported that they had driven under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

On what we can do to curb the addiction epidemic

There are prevention strategies and treatment strategies that can address multiple substance use disorders. Some of these programs are school-based, college-campus-based, and community-based, some online and some in person. Many — particularly the school-based programs — teach children how to manage stress in a healthy way, because stress is one of the reasons people turn to substances like alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription painkillers. The programs also teach them about substances of misuse, and teach them how to refuse tobacco and alcohol and other illicit substances when they’re offered.

The problem that we have right now is that we’re not implementing many of these evidence-based interventions.

While we’re calling people’s attention to some pretty stark statistics, I also want to recognize that there are reasons to be hopeful. All across our country we have examples of communities that are starting to step up and implement prevention programs and treatment programs. And peoples’ lives are changing as a result of that. We’ve been dealing with substance disorders for centuries. What’s different now is that we have solutions that work.

On continuing this work under the Trump administration

People on both sides of the aisle state clearly and in unequivocal terms that substance use disorders are a problem that we have to address now, because they are tearing apart our communities. So I am hopeful that we are all on the same page when it comes to addressing this crisis — and addressing it urgently. I’m looking forward to working with the next administration to do so.

Contact Addiction Campuses if you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse, addiction, or mental health issues.

Advertisements

Posts you don’t want to miss! #1

With all of life’s craziness, I’ve gotten behind on my a number of my popular posts. Here are some I’ll string together for you all into a tidy post package…

Mabry Living's photo.

November 29, 2015

My courage and bravery were tested this morning when I saw a little black thing move across my kitchen floor and under my refrigerator. I am pretty sure it was a mouse…and I don’t handle those little critters well at all. I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about them. Eek! I finished cooking breakfast on top of the kitchen counters just in case our new home resident decided to come out and play for a little bit. Today I am thankful for my dad. He doesn’t know it yet but he will be setting traps this afternoon to try to catch that little booger. I pray that the mouse is trapped before my dad heads home tomorrow. Catching mice is a man’s job in my book!‪#‎myweakness‬ ‪#‎keepingitreal‬ ‪#‎morningpanic‬ ‪#‎mansjob‬ ‪#‎mice‬ ‪#‎grossmeout‬‪#‎bedhead‬ ‪#‎makeupfree‬

November 30, 2015

How is it going to be December already tomorrow?!? We decided that tonight was a great time to bring a little holiday cheer into our home. I love when the tree and angel are lit up.🎄

Mabry Living's photo.

The kids and I are entering our 4th week of John being away. Over the last several weeks we have been adjusting to our new normal. It has been a growing experience for all of the Mabry family and I pray we come out stronger because of this transition.

John returns back to the Nashville area on Friday. Being that I have become adjusted to my new normal, I am a little nervous of the upcoming transition of him entering back into our every day lives again. The last time I saw John at the beginning of November was a day I wish I could erase from my memory. He was not healthy, addiction had stolen his soul. I plan to continue living one day at a time upon his return. I know TIME will be our friend as we slowly adapt once again.

Its always hard to know who the person is going to be when they come back from treatment. I am praying that the man I pick up from the airport greets me with clear eyes and a renewed spirit. Hopefully we will both be able to see clearly now that the rain is gone!

Who knows, it could be a bright, bright, bright sunshiny day!

‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬‪#‎onedayatatime‬‪#‎sobriety‬‪#‎healing‬‪#‎recovery‬‪#‎seekjoy‬‪#‎alcoholism‬‪#‎substanceabuse‬‪#‎prescriptionpills‬‪#‎hope‬‪#‎prayerwarriors‬‪#‎addiction‬

December 2, 2015

I love seeing God’s work in progress. A new circle of friendship has blossomed! This morning I hosted a little get-together with new friends that I met by sharing my journey through Mabry Living. These ladies are walking along a similar “valley” in their own lives. I believe our paths were meant to cross, it was no accident. All of us are wounded and are leaning on our faith by trusting God’s plan for our futures. It was nice to witness our pain shift to power as we sat and encouraged one another with hope. We have already decided to call ourselves, “The Valley Girls.” Like new adventures, I never know what life lessons these new friendships may teach me as we continue to support each other one day at a time!


Today I am thankful for friendships-old and new. Like I used to sing when I was a Girl Scout in the 80’s, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.”
‪#‎valleygirls‬ ‪#‎newfriendship‬ ‪#‎hope‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎encourage‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬‪#‎friendship‬ ‪#‎godsplan‬ ‪#‎trust‬

Mabry Living's photo.
December 3, 2015

Today marks the Eve of John’s return to the Nashville area from treatment in Texas. I am still anxious about reuniting with him tomorrow morning at the airport. It’s always awkward to see him after treatment. It’s kind of like going on a first date with someone you never met before yet having the guy be your husband and the father of your kids. What will he look like? How will he act? Will we get along? Oh Lordy, I don’t feel ready to ‘date’ again and rebuild from ground zero.

I never liked dating. It was not something I desired…like EVER! It makes me so uncomfortable. Seriously, look at how silly John and I look in this picture! It’s hard to tell if we are siblings on a family vacation or a couple. We definitely respected each other’s personal space. Don’t even get me started on my pants! This was taken on one of our first dates back in 2002 when John lived in San Diego.

From what I heard, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. So, cheers to attempting to fall in love for the 35th time throughout 11 years of marriage (that may or may not be an exaggeration). Prayers will be necessary for this love story.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬ ‪#‎loveispatient‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎recovery‬‪#‎1corinthians13‬ ‪#‎firstdate‬ ‪#‎addiction‬ ‪#‎substanceabuse‬ ‪#‎alcoholism‬‪#‎prescriptionpills‬ ‪#‎learningtoloveagain‬ ‪#‎7×70‬ ‪#‎forgiveness‬

December 4, 2015

When I was in college I had a framed picture of John on my nightstand…because that’s what you do when love is in the air. The frame (with hearts on it) joined me in Tx, moved with me to California and then onto Tennessee. Eight years ago, a baby intercom took over the frame’s home on my nightstand. It now resides in a drawer full of other unused framed pictures.

Mabry Living's photo.

Since John left for treatment, Sawyer has been sneaking into that drawer on numerous occasions retrieving the framed photo. I have observed her saying “Dada” while pointing at his face and then giving the picture a kiss. It’s pretty sweet to witness! I think it’s safe to say that the kiddos are ready to see their daddy!

I got the boys off to school and now Sawyer and I are getting ready to drive up to the airport to get John. Carrie Underwood’s lyrics keep coming to my mind…

🎶“Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go”🎶

It’s time for me to LET GO AND LET GOD do his mighty work. I’m trusting that he’s got things under control.

***side note…I wrote a lot of this post last night knowing that this morning was going to be hectic. This morning I woke up to TWO people sending me encouraging messages that included the lyrics to “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Coincidence, I think not!

‪#‎letgoandletgod‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎recovery‬ ‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬‪#‎reunite‬ ‪#‎trust‬ ‪#‎marriage‬ ‪#‎learningtoloveagain‬ ‪#‎jesustakethewheel‬

Mabry Living's photo.

3 things I learned from the French word for nipple

IMG_5275

I (John) recently returned from a trip to Wyoming where I spent several days exploring Grand Teton National Park. Before I motor boat into what I saw and felt, let’s first shine some high-beams on how the Grand Tetons got their name. It is rumored by some rather boring  historians that the large mounds were named after the Teton Sioux tribe. However, the more widely adopted explanation among the locals is that “Grand Teton” means “Large Teat” in French, named by French-Canadian explorers. For purposes of this fun bag discussion, we’re going to augment the latter.

Now, I’ve explored the deep crevasses and cleavages of the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns and the Great Smokey Mountains, but the sheer size and immense beauty of these large teats is unmatched by anything I’ve ever seen. I was fortunate to feed off of the land in more ways than one, so I have compiled a list of the top three things I learned by exploring Large Teat National Park.

1. A man’s anxiety disappears when immersed in Large Teats

As one who has suffered from anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder, I can tell you that I’m a sucker for anything that can relieve my stresses naturally, and the Grand Tetons did it for me. My anxiety and emotional state can still have a tenderness to them so I still carry medications with me just in case. But I never once felt the need to medicate myself when buried in these mounds.IMG_5243

2. A man never feels alone when consuming mother nature’s bosom. 

Even with all of today’s technology and social networking, it’s easier than ever to feel detached and isolated from others. I found, however, that when embarking on a solo journey into the thick woods, it’s almost impossible to feel lonely. Mother nature has a way of providing you with signs – such as a pair of hooting owls or putting a few wild-growing melons in your path – that remind you that you’re never alone when you are exploring her.

For instance, I took an unaccompanied hike but never felt apart from people. Conversely, I never felt closer to the greater whole of existence. There was life all around me in the streams, lakes and trees. I was fortunate to experience two up-close encounters with mother nature in the forms of a bull moose and elk. It’s one thing to see these wild beasts on TV or the computer but there’s something exhilarating and life-changing about seeing them up close in person.

 

3. A man cannot deny the sense of accomplishment when climaxing a challenging summit.

On the final day of my trip I had the opportunity to hike to the top of a 10,000 foot mountain at the Grand Targee Resort. I grabbed a few jugs…of water…and started feeling my way up the mountain. It wasn’t long before I got off the trail and found myself chest deep in wild grasses and shrubs. There was a hardness to this hike unlike any I have ever experienced. I thought about giving up about a third of the way through, thinking there was no way my legs would carry me to the top. I kept moving one step at a time and finally reached the top where it was a tid bit nipply up on the breast of the new fallen snow. More amazing than the views was the sense of freedom and exhilaration I felt for conquering these huge lumps of mother Earth.

IMG_5284

So whether your fears are real or fake, there’s nothing like taking your Winnebagos to the milk factory that produces all-natural, snow-capped peaks that is – Grand Teton National Park.

 

Here’s why John’s $20k prosthetic leg may no longer be covered by insurance

John’s prosthetic leg cost over $20,000 and requires regular visits to maintain it. A major part broke last week that had to be replaced. Medicare has now proposed serious limitations that are a detriment to all amputees needing prosthetic care to live active lifestyles, remain in the workforce, etc. Please take 1 minute to sign the petition on the link on Mabry Living’s Facebook page to rescind the proposal.

11873412_701953443283135_5542434236612575513_n

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/rescind-medicare-proposal-restricting-access-prosthetic-limbs-and-returning-amputees-1970s-standards-care

People with chronic pain just complain, right?

Have you ever felt like the struggles you’re going through are so unique that no one would understand you, even if you tried to explain them? And even if you could explain them, you don’t want to because it might make you seem weak, like you’re a complainer and not a fighter. I often feel like this with my chronic pain, but it’s not something I talk about much. Since my car accident, it has been difficult not to let my struggle become my identity, as I did for so long.

2- Hospital in College Station, Texas

When my severed nerve fairs up at night, I get an ingrown hair or a blister forms on my residual limb from my lower leg amputation my first reaction is to ignore and conceal the issue. All that does is cause more problems. So what happens when you actually let people know what’s going on with you? You might be surprised by people’s reactions.

Like many who battle with chronic pain and chronic illnesses, I attempt to minimize it to be seen as “normal.” I don’t want to be perceived as a complainer or lazy so I keep much of my pain to myself. When a particularly painful ingrown hair formed on my amputated limb recently I felt overwhelmed and depressed to the point of not wanting to get out of bed. Instead of keeping it to myself I opened up to Sarah to let her know about it.

Surprisingly, she didn’t roll her eyes in judgement or imply that I was worthless like my mind told me she would. Instead, she exercised compassion and patience and served as a voice of reason. See, I still wanted to ignore the problem and go workout. I mean, how can someone call an amputee who’s working out lazy, right? When the infected ingrown hair was causing me as much pain as it was, working out on it would have been just plain stupid. So not only did Sarah suggest that I not go workout, she encouraged me to take it extra easy that day and to keep my leg off as much as possible so that I didn’t continue to aggravate it. I experienced such mental and emotional relief to be validated and supported for being in pain. The hardest part was admitting to myself and someone else what I was going through at that particular moment.

When you’re dealing with any kind of chronic physical, mental or emotional issue you can’t merely stop fighting. Life is going to happen around you whether you like it or not. What this recent experience reminded me is that sometimes continuing to keep fighting means to surrender and ask for help or to simply let someone know what you’re struggling with. I strive not to let my chronic pain identify me as a victim or a complainer, but many days it’s just too overwhelming. Maybe the good side of it is that it allows me to identify as being a normal human being and, that possibly, I have been sent along this path to help someone else who is hurting. If this is you…KEEP FIGHTING!

3 Simple Fitness Tips to Improve the Look of Your Mirror

So you want to bring your Sexy Back this summer so you can Rock Your Body? Unlike Justin Timberlake, who will always appear dapper, the window for John and me to bring our sexy back is closing. Our Mirrors don’t lie. But it’s Not A Bad Thing to make a valiant attempt to reinvent ourselves to the days of old prior to having kids. Here are 3 simple fitness tips that have kept us from Crying A River that you can use to fit into your old Suit & Tie.

   

1. Take Back the Night

Anyone with kids understands how hard it is to work out consistently, especially when they’re home on summer break from school. As much as I don’t like putting off my workout until late in the day, I find it necessary some days to stay consistent with my daily PiYo workout videos. So, instead of just folding the dreaded never-ending pile of laundry or sitting and watching The Bachelorette, I combine the two activities. I reward myself by getting to watch my favorite shows, while folding laundry, after getting my workout in once the kids are in bed.

2. Replacing One Meal a Day With a Shake Is Not A Bad Thing

John and I have seen great gains in our weight loss by replacing one meal a day with a hearty, healthy shake. My favorite is Shakeology’s Chocolate Vegan shake mixed with ice, coconut milk and/or water and a frozen banana. I get it from my Beach Body Coach, Rainer Lowman. John’s favorite protein shake powder is vegan vanilla from About Time.

3. What Goes Around, Goes Around, Goes Around, Comes Back Around

Consistency is key! In my opinion, it almost doesn’t matter what workouts you do or what dietary changes you make. What matters is that you find something you can sustain over a long enough period of time to achieve the results you’re looking for. Most people seek out immediate results because we have been conditioned to expect instant gratification. But let’s be honest, the most effective way to bring your Sexy Back is to set realistic goals and implement nutrition and exercise regimens that you can be consistent with given all your other responsibilities at work and at home. Maybe that means your won’t lose 10lbs in two weeks. Maybe that means you lose 10lbs in 3 months. If that makes more sense for you, then go into it with a realistic approach. As long as you don’t quit and don’t give up the results will come back around.

      

So get out there and deliver a TKO to your diet and workouts! You could even simply dance to some JT music!

Bye Bye Bye,

Sarah

5 things I learned from my 60 Day PiYo Fitness Challenge

How many of you moms out there struggle with the delusional effects on the brain caused from managing a home and kids? I definitely do! I finally got to a breaking point recently that caused me to really step outside my comfort zone to make a radical change in my life. On the surface, the process of transformation I’m about to tell you about gave the illusion that I was losing valuable time that should have been spent giving to my family. But what I found was that all of my responsibilities got done and that everyone’s happy when mommy’s happy!

I usually get wrapped up in the daily mommy grind of changing diapers, cleaning up spills, fixing meals and, of course, the dreaded never-ending laundry pile. As I attempt to type this my 1-year old daughter found a way out to our back porch and sat down in the baby pool. When I scooped her up she had a plastic piece of fake dog poop (from her brothers’ prank kit) in her mouth. Ugh!! Anyway, I’ve realized the chances of ever getting ahead in my “job” are…well…impossible. With the way things were I never felt accomplished because there was always some other demand to tend to no matter how hard or fast I worked.

I finally decided to shift my mindset away from solely stay-at-home mom duties to self-care first, then mom duties. For 60 days I committed to taking care of myself first. I NEEDED to see results somehow! My good friends Rainer and Kristen are coaches for Beach Body’s amazing at-home workout series, one called PiYo. They’re both moms and their homes haven’t imploded…yet…so I decided to do PiYo over any other workout program out there.

Surprisingly, I was able to find hidden time that allowed me to squeeze in a short work out daily, my house didn’t burn down and my kids did not spontaneously combust. Although things aren’t quite in the order I like them to be I am a MUCH happier mom because of this simple switch.

IMG_6394

By putting my personal goals first over the last 60-days I’ve learned these five important lessons that I’d like to share with you:

IMG_6332

1.  PiYo is actually relaxing.

There is a lot of commotion in our home. This video is a prime example of what I’m talking about. The activity and noise levels within our home makes me think I live in a theme park at times. So I didn’t need some super high energy workout. I used my PiYo workouts as a healthy escape to calm my mind and my body. PiYo is actually a combination of Pilates and Yoga so, although physically challenging, it provided me a way to center myself with its flexibility and fluid movement elements. Unlike other programs like Insanity and P90X, PiYo is low impact, requires no equipment and its exercises can easily be adapted to any fitness level.

IMG_5818

2. Consistence is key.

As with any habit, good or bad, it takes roughly of 3-4 weeks to retrain your mind and body to adapt to a new set of standards. I could easily have just done PiYo for 30-days, but I truly felt I needed – and deserved for that matter – a full 60-days of caring for myself in this way. I only missed one or two days, and that was even while traveling out of town for a week. I made up for the missed day by doubling up the next day. But I could tell when I missed a workout. I didn’t feel as relaxed, clear-minded or confident the few days I missed. Once you get into the routine it becomes addicting.

IMG_5940

3. Accountability is important.

This was one of the most important elements of my two month journey. When I purchased my PiYo kit from my friend, who is a registered Beach Body coach, I was able to join her Facebook group. I have to admit that I resisted checking in with an online group at first. But I found it extremely helpful to know other women cared about my daily progress and could encourage me on days when I didn’t feel like doing it. It was also helpful for me to be a cheerleader to others.

4. Motivation is a must.

I don’t know about you, but I need to feel cute if I am going to be working out. So what’s the first thing any sane woman does before she starts a workout program? She goes shopping for cute clothes, of course!  I purchased two new swim suits, a new pair of gym shoes and a few funky, upbeat bandannas with my birthday money. My new shoes made me want to work out so I had an excuse to wear them. My new swimsuits made me want to work out because I know that I will be wearing them soon now that it is getting close to the summer months. Heck, I even wore one of my swimsuits to work out in once for extra motivation. I have to say that this trick of working out in a swimsuit made me push myself harder than I normally do because I know the results I want to have.

IMG_6012IMG_6390IMG_6369

5. Keep your eye on the goal.

I think where a lot of people get stuck in making changes to their diet and exercise is that they don’t see immediate results so they quit. I knew where I wanted to go, but I had times of doubt. In smaller moments during workouts when I wanted to quit I had to remind myself how I wanted to feel after the workout – you know, accomplished and exhausted – and not on the uncomfortable pain I was currently in. In terms of the bigger picture, there were several days I did not feel like working out at all. But having my accountability team in place, along with the encouragement from my family, I was able to stay the course I had set before me.

IMG_6235

One of the best moments was when I went to my cousin’s wedding seven weeks into my program. I got so many compliments on how healthy I looked. Those simple words of encouragement helped me to finish my 60 days strong and now I have continued my daily workouts. The experience at the wedding reminded me that I need to be more deliberate in complimenting other people because one simple kind word from someone can completely change someone’s day or even week.

So whatever your goal is I hope my experience has encouraged you to take the first step in committing to whatever is you want to change or accomplish. If you need any motivation just let me know. I’ll be happy to be your cheerleader.

Love, Sarah

And now I give you my BEFORE and AFTER pictures:

IMG_6392IMG_6391IMG_6393