Opioid Crisis and How Doctors are Combating the Epidemic

In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have been under question from health professionals as they flood the market with new pain-relieving drugs. While providing immediate relief, these medicines can be harmful to the patient and they can become addicted. As the opioid crisis grows, doctors are taking action to promote safer alternative pain relief to combat the addiction, with chiropractic care leading the way.

Why is It Important to Look for Alternate Pain Relief?

Doctors and other health care professionals want patients to seek other means of pain relief like chiropractic care, physical therapy and other treatments before turning to medications or surgery. For example, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, but in a series on back pain in the medical journal The Lancet, most sufferers are not receiving the most effective care. Treatments like exercise and physical therapy are often overlooked and less effective treatments like rest and opioid prescriptions are favored. A recent clinical trial found opioids are not a superior treatment to non-opioid treatments as there is limited evidence of the long-term outcomes of these prescriptions.

New Laws Fighting the Epidemic

Health care practitioners around the world are taking these same steps to show that opioids and surgery should not be the first step of action. In response to the growth in popularity of these drugs, US Representative Annie Kuster of Vermont will propose new legislation where the VA would administer alternate pain care like chiropractic care and classes for coping with pain. She hopes this will spread to the other centers and teach veterans how to relieve their pain safely.

In another attempt to combat the epidemic, Congress has asked pharmaceutical distributors to testify about their role in the epidemic. The distributors expressed regret in their role, which is the first time a company has taken responsibility for the crisis. The judge in this case and others who witnessed the trial hope the information serves as a “Rosetta Stone” to decipher how opiate abuse turned into a national scare.