A recent passage of bills by Congress has taken the first step towards fighting back against the opioid epidemic in the US. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has publicly applauded Congress for these major steps. However, more needs to be done according to the ACA. One such step is the expansion of conservative treatments for pain management via the nation’s health care system.
Congress passed a whopping 18 bills regarding opioids. Several of those could lead to new roles for doctors of chiropractic in fighting back against prescription opioids. One of which is HR 4981, the Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, amends the Controlled Substances Act to aid patients in gaining access to more comprehensive treatment options that reduce the likelihood of relapse.
According to ACA President David Herd, DC, “It’s clear that the federal government has recognized the toll opioid overuse and addiction has taken on this country and is taking positive steps to address this epidemic.” He goes on to say, “Efforts must now be directed toward educating health care providers and the public about conservative forms of pain management.”
Concern for the increased reliance on prescription medications for pain has become a major concern of chiropractic physicians. During the annual meeting of ACA’s House of Delegates in Washington, D.C., delegates adopted a policy statement that supports the investigation of nonpharmacological interventions for pain treatment, among other therapy options. The ACA’s new policy statement is a part of the chiropractic profession’s effort to inform the public about non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical pain management options.
A more conservative approach to pain management reduces the need for high-risk options and is a safer approach to addictive medications and surgery. Interestingly, more than 33.6 million Americans sought out chiropractic care in 2014, compared with a reported number of 20.6 million in 2012, according to a Gallup report. With the assistance of the House and Senate, these new provisions will hopefully implement greater access to alternative health care.