Advocacy and Health Policy |

ACOG Statement on Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health

Washington, DC—President Thomas Gellhaus, M.D. of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released the following statement regarding the Surgeon General’s new report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health:


“Last week, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report highlighting alcohol and drug misuse and substance use disorders as one of America’s most pressing public health concerns. This is an immensely important issue, and ACOG thanks Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto for prioritizing this issue and releasing this landmark report.

“Nearly 21 million Americans suffer from substance use disorders, yet only roughly 2 million receive treatment. Among women, opioid and other substance use disorders are often underdiagnosed, and unintended pregnancy rates for women with opioid dependence are as high as 86%.

“Withdrawal from opioid use during pregnancy is associated with poor neonatal outcomes, including early preterm birth or fetal demise, and with higher relapse rates among women. As the report reiterates, robust evidence has demonstrated that medication assisted treatment, the use of medications such as buprenorphine or methadone in combination with counseling and behavioral therapy, during pregnancy is linked with improved maternal and neonatal outcomes.

“ACOG remains deeply committed to reducing the number of women and pregnant women battling substance use disorders through increased resources and education for health care providers and patients, including increased access to evidence-based treatment for pregnant women. We look forward to continuing to work with the Surgeon General to improve cultural understanding and access to prevention and treatment for addiction.”

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 57,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.