Surgeon general’s Illinois visit highlights opioid crisis

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. surgeon general’s campaign against prescription painkiller addiction came to Chicago, where he toured a substance abuse treatment facility.

During a visit Wednesday to the Haymarket Center on Chicago’s West Side, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the nation can end the opioid epidemic only if there is a change in the way addiction is viewed.

Murthy asserted addiction is not a moral failing or a character flaw, but instead is a chronic illness that should be “treated with skill and urgency.”

Murthy’s visit was at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who cited a rise in overdose deaths from prescription opioids and heroin in Illinois.

The two met with patients and health care professionals about their experiences with cases of substance abuse.