Former surgeon general rebukes Price for remarks on addiction treatment

Vivek Murthy, MD, who served as U.S. Surgeon General before President Donald Trump fired him last month, tweeted criticism of HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, for his comments on addiction treatment.

"Science, not opinion, should guide our recommendations and policies" on addiction treatment, Dr. Murthy said, after tweeting that "there is a lot of confusion about addiction treatment," according to STAT.

The tweets came a day after Dr. Price made comments indicating his skepticism over the efficacy of medication-based addiction treatments. "If we're just substituting one opioid for another, we're not moving the dial much," Dr. Price told the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia during his "listening tour" on the nation's opioid drug crisis. "Folks need to be cured so they can be productive members of society and realize their dreams."

Dr. Murthy confirmed with STAT that his tweets were a direct response to Dr. Price's remarks.

"If recent comments from the administration indicate a shift away from an evidence-based, public health approach to the opioid crisis, I am concerned the negative impact on the health of Americans will be considerable," said Dr. Murthy, according to STAT. "It is important that people know the truth about what science says about opioid addiction treatment: medication-assisted treatment works."

"It is also important that we not further stigmatize medication-assisted treatment by incorrectly implying that it is not effective," he added. "That will only make it harder for people to seek out the care they need."

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