Surgeon General Jerome Adams at the White House. ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES

Expanding addiction treatment, embracing the bully pulpit: Jerome Adams on his first year as surgeon general

September 21st, 2018

Earlier this month, Dr. Jerome Adams marked one year as surgeon general — a position nicknamed “America’s doctor.” In that time, he’s worked with the Trump administration as it declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency; traveled to 26 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and issued a rare advisory that has led to more Americans carrying naloxone.

Adams also recently released a report containing the latest opioid data and recommendations for what people can do to stem the addiction crisis. The initiative includes a digital postcard that Adams likened to the pamphlet about AIDS former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop mailed to every household in 1988. The postcard highlights properly storing and disposing opioid medications, other options for pain treatment beyond opioids, and treatments that exist for opioid addiction.

STAT caught up with Adams this week to see how the first year went, learn about his plans for year two, and hear his thoughts about some of the most pressing public health debates today, including safe injection sites, also known as supervised injection facilities, which a number of cities are hoping to open. Adams also updated STAT about his wife, Lacey, who is undergoing treatment for metastatic melanoma, and his brother, Phillip, who for years has struggled with addiction and is in a Maryland prison.

Andrew Joseph/STAT