American Chiropractic Association launches 2015 public awareness campaign aimed at curbing opioid overuse and abuse
During National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM) in October, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) will work with thousands of doctors of chiropractic (DCs), chiropractic assistants (CAs) and chiropractic doctoral students nationwide to bring attention to the public health crisis caused by pain, and in particular the overuse of prescription painkillers, with this year’s theme #PainFreeNation. The campaign is part of the profession’s ongoing efforts to educate the public about the value of exhaustingconservative forms of care for both acute and chronic pain before resorting to higher risk options, such as opioids.
“Opioid medications involve the risk of overuse and addiction. Beyond the risks of overuse and addiction, prescription drugs that numb pain may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is, or that it has healed. This misunderstanding can lead to overexertion and a delay in the healing process or even to permanent injury,” said ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC.
President Hamm noted that people in pain should be informed of all management strategies, including non-drug approaches such as chiropractic, to reduce their risk of overuse and addiction.
“Each patient is unique, and care plans should be tailored to focus on what is the safest, most effective treatment for the individual. Chiropractic physicians stand ready to work together with medical physicians to help address this epidemic that has caused unnecessary suffering, enormous loss of human potential and massive financial and personal costs,” he added.
Fortunately, health care quality organizations have begun to recognize the value of this conservative, multidisciplinary approach. Earlier this year, the Joint Commission, which certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including every major hospital, revised its pain management standard to include chiropractic services and acupuncture. Clinical experts in pain management who provide input to the commission’s standards affirmed that treatment strategies may consider both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches.
During NCHM this fall, ACA will offer chiropractic physicians resources to help them share information about their conservative approach and why it is especially significant to today’s health care consumers amidst the opioid epidemic.