U.S. Surgeon General to Visit Chicago at Senator Durbin's Invitation

CHICAGO – At the invitation of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will visit Chicago next Wednesday as part of his effort to address the country’s prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. Durbin and Dr. Murthy will visit a substance abuse treatment facility in Chicago and meet with patients, advocates, and health care professionals to discuss initiatives to combat the crisis.

“In recent years, Illinois – like the rest of the country – has seen an alarming increase in drug overdose deaths related to prescription opioids and heroin. I’m grateful the Surgeon General is coming to Chicago to see firsthand the impact this epidemic has had on our communities,” Durbin said. “The opioid crisis shines a light on the need for comprehensive action from all stakeholders - law enforcement, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies, and our federal and state agencies. We should be committing serious resources to improving access to treatment, as well as limiting the sheer number of narcotic painkillers flooding our streets.”


The visit is part of Dr. Murthy’s “Turn the Tide on Addiction” campaign – a national effort based on the concept of “prescribers talking to prescribers.” Turn the Tide aims to educate prescribers about the opioid epidemic, mobilize health care professionals to improve prescribing practices, provide the public with information to protect themselves and their families from opioid misuse and overdose, and change the cultural perceptions of addiction, so that it is seen not as a moral failing but a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency, and compassion.

Durbin has introduced several pieces of legislation to expand treatment for heroin addiction and increase access to drug prevention programs that have been proven to save lives, as well as legislation that seeks to prevent addiction before it starts by curbing the volume of addictive painkillers on the market.