Anti-Opioid Letter from Surgeon General to All Doctors

In case you were wondering, this is the letter that the Surgeon General (our government) sent to ALL doctors in the United States. I’m furious that this biased, one-sided, opinion-based view of the media-hyped crisis is being propagated by our leaders with NO consideration for people suffering from suicide-inducing pain.


Dear Colleague,

I am asking for your help to solve an urgent health crisis facing America: the opioid epidemic. Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses. I meet families too ashamed to seek treatment for addiction. And I will never forget my own patient whose opioid use disorder began with a course of morphine after a routine procedure.  

It is important to recognize that we arrived at this place on a path paved with good intentions. Nearly two decades ago, we were encouraged to be more aggressive about treating pain, often without enough training and support to do so safely. This coincided with heavy marketing of opioids to doctors. Many of us were even taught – incorrectly – that opioids are not addictive when prescribed for legitimate pain.

The results have been devastating. Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled and opioid prescriptions have increased markedly – almost enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills. Yet the amount of pain reported by Americans has not changed. Now, nearly 2 million people in America have a prescription opioid use disorder, contributing to increased heroin use and the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.

I know solving this problem will not be easy. We often struggle to balance reducing our patients’ pain with increasing their risk of opioid addiction. But, as clinicians, we have the unique power to help end this epidemic. As cynical as times may seem, the public still looks to our profession for hope during difficult moments. This is one of those times.

That is why I am asking you to pledge your commitment to turn the tide on the opioid crisis. Please take the pledge. Together, we will build a national movement of clinicians to do three things:

First, we will educate ourselves to treat pain safely and effectively. A good place to start is the TurnTheTideRx pocket guide with the CDC Opioid Prescribing Guideline. Second, we will screen our patients for opioid use disorder and provide or connect them with evidence-based treatment. Third, we can shape how the rest of the country sees addiction by talking about and treating it as a chronic illness, not a moral failing.

Years from now, I want us to look back and know that, in the face of a crisis that threatened our nation, it was our profession that stepped up and led the way. I know we can succeed because health care is more than an occupation to us. It is a calling rooted in empathy, science, and service to humanity. These values unite us. They remain our greatest strength.

Thank you for your leadership.

Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A.
19th U.S. Surgeon General

This is essentially saying that doctors should stop the effective treatment of pain to prevent heroin addicts from overdosing.


11 thoughts on “Anti-Opioid Letter from Surgeon General to All Doctors

  1. david becker

    William Osler, in his history of medicine, indicated that medicine arose from a sense of pity. Jefferson wrote the aim of government is the happiness of its citizens. Where is the pity for people in pain and who cares about their happiness. Certainly the Surgeon Generals comments reflect that pain care in America has made a radical departure from the origins of medical care and the social contract.
    And i laugh when i hear the surgeon general or the leadership at the AMA or AAFP talk about evidence based, quality and effective care. This is false consciousness writ large. This is an effort to deceive and demobilize people in pain. This is bold face lies. This is a reflection of how degenerated opinion leaders in government and medicine have become. This is something that shouldn’t stand. This is something we need to oppose int he name of compassion, reverence for life, common decency, the social contract, and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    But i know too many people in pain will remain passive and will accept poor pain care and mistreatment, instead of speak up and out for themselves and for common decency and compassion. Nw back to reading The Tragic Sense of Life….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. painkills2

    Methinks this dude doesn’t understand the definition of empathy. Or science. While everyone in government is focusing on the opioid war:

    “While the epidemic of fatal opioid overdoses is a serious crisis that has generated bipartisan legislation in Congress, this distinctive cause of death analysis shows that it is an outlier in 33 percent fewer states than gun fatalities.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. david becker

    The focus isnt on opioids- the focus is on government despotically dominating individuals-and using so called experts and cherry picked science to justify/legitimate their disepmapthic despotic ways.
    The falconer cannot hear the falcon- government can no longer see individuals as being separate and different from their designs. And this growing rift is increasingly dangerous and detrimental to people in pain and all individual rights. This is the fury of government that has lost its way and has devolved into petty controler of others. It has lost all idealism.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. JayKay

    This makes me so angry; I am now the target of a witch hunt!
    I’m a patient with severe chronic intractable pain, under the care of a competent doctor, who gets relief from the use of opioids–and the CDC’s suggestion is suddenly turning into a war on pain patients.
    I urge all patients to write the surgeon general (address online): but one letter won’t work. Only FLOODS of protests will do. Please: if not for yourself, then for a fellow sufferer. Thank you.


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  8. Ceciluaaguirre martinex

    My treatment was suddenly stopped. Besides the excruciating pain due to Systemuc Lupus and also chest pain at every breath, due to Arterial Pulmonary Hypertension. I am now dealing with horrible effects due to suddenly stopping morphine. Withdrawls plus the pain. I feel I will die… if not mommit suicide. I was doing fine before my medication was stopped. Now I’m in severe distress.

    Liked by 1 person


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