Surgeon general’s Illinois visit to highlight opioid crisis

August 10, 2016 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. surgeon general is scheduled to appear in Illinois as part of his national tour to fight prescription painkiller addiction.

Dr. Vivek Murthy plans to visit a Chicago treatment facility Wednesday with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. They will tour Haymarket Center, which offers services — including job training and medically assisted treatment — to people recovering from addiction.

Murthy has been calling on doctors to improve their prescribing practices to reduce the supply of misused opioid painkillers, along with training that would allow doctors to better diagnose substance abuse disorders.

Prescription opioid overdoses reached nearly 19,000 in 2014, the highest number on record. Total opioid overdoses surpassed 29,000 that year when combined with heroin, which some abusers switch to after becoming hooked on painkillers.