Dr. Oz Encourages National Night Of Conversation About Addiction

By Kelly Burch 11/17/16

The night coincides with the release of the first-ever Surgeon General’s report on addiction.

Dr. Oz Encourages National Night Of Conversation About Addiction

On Saturday night, Nov. 19, Dr. Oz wants you to open up an honest conversation about drugs and addiction as part of the National Night of Conversation, in an effort to remove the topic of addiction from the shadows of polite dinnertime conversation. 

“The most important first step we can take in reducing the suffering and death from addiction is to simply talk about it,” said Mehmet Oz, MD. “By removing the fear and shame surrounding addiction, through an open dialog in families we will save lives. Parents need to educate their children about the overall risks of drugs and drinking, as well as get inside their children’s heads to assess what risks they may be facing already. Most importantly, we want to make it safe for family members to reach out for help.”

The National Night of Conversation is being organized by The Dr. Oz Show, Facing Addiction, and Drugs Over Dinner. Anticipating that the dinner conversation could get awkward, organizers have worked with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Council for Behavioral Health, HealthCorps, and a high school program founded by Dr. Oz, to create a downloadable discussion guide. Drugs Over Dinner’s website also offers guidance for beginning the conversation with everyone from coworkers to children. 

Organizers hope that the night will de-stigmatize the subject of addiction, the same goal that U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, MD, had when he announced the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on addiction, which was released today

“We have to stop seeing addiction as a moral failing and see it for what it really is, which is a chronic illness we must treat with compassion and urgency. Part of the intention of this report is to change how we talk about addiction,” said the Surgeon General last month when he announced the report. “The other intention of this report is to also bring the best possible science together about prevention, treatment, and recovery.”

Dr. Oz recommended that organizers review the guide and reflect on what they will say before dinner starts. 

“You will want to take some time to think about how you will ask and answer the questions that will come up,” he wrote in the Observer. Although the conversation may be tough for some people, Dr. Oz was adamant that it is necessary. 

“The dinner table is one of the most important places in the house for improving the health of your family,” he said. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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