Opioid Overdose And Abuse Awareness Campaigns Continue To Grow


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 16,235 deaths involving prescription opioids in 2013, an increase of 1% from 2012. Total drug overdose deaths in 2013 hit 43,982, up 6% from 2012.

Drug overdose deaths include alcohol (the largest percentage):


To help curb opioid overdose, misuse and abuse in the United States, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) will be launching a new initiative during National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM), which is in October. This year’s theme has a hashtag paired with it: #PainFreeNation.

Pain free, that’s funny, especially considering how painful chiropractic treatments usually are. You can try to convince me that chiropractic “care” will be magically beneficial to me in the long run, regardless of how painful it is to endure, but I can’t be fooled for long.

The ACA’s nationwide campaign aims to further educate the public on “conservative forms” of care for both acute and chronic pain. According to the organization, patients shouldn’t initially go for “higher risk” options — such as prescription painkillers.

Something else that’s funny is that some chiropractors are advocating for the ability to prescribe stronger drugs, even wanting to be considered primary care providers and coordinate care. I remember a local chiropractor who spoke at one of the rare public hearings for the Medical Cannabis Program talking about these issues too.  But many chiropractors believe that these treatments should be completely drug-free.

I’ll tell you what, you promise not to cause me any pain, and I’ll agree to more chiro treatments. But chiros can’t do that, because when you’re forcefully “realigning” bones and joints, that shit hurts.

“With increasing volumes of research highlighting the risks of overuse and abuse of pain medications, the ACA strongly urges patients and healthcare providers to first exhaust non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatments for pain management and health improvement strategies before moving on to other options,” ACA President Anthony Hamm said in an interview.

Why do people keep insisting that pain patients haven’t exhausted all other options before being given access to opioid therapy?

Alternatives to ingesting opioids for pain management include acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic, psychotherapy and physical therapy…

The medical industry’s approval of alternative treatments, like acupuncture and chiropractic care, just makes them look foolish.  Like they’re turning their backs on evidence-based practices.

“The ACA hopes that the dissemination of information about the painkiller epidemic and chiropractic’s rightful place as part of the solution will reach a significant number of people,” he said. “Social media will also make it easy for DCs to share simple ways for enhancing strength and avoiding pain and injury in everyday life with their social media followers.”

There will even be a Twitter chat kickoff on September 29 to “heighten awareness of the drug-free approach chiropractic offers to those suffering from pain,” Hamm noted. The ACA is encouraging doctors of chiropractic (DCs) to participate in the discussion.

I’m not on Twitter, but if there are any pain patients out there who are, maybe you could join this chat.  Talk about your own chiro experiences, good and bad.

Some pain management advocacy groups agree with the ACA’s new campaign, supportive of the fact that the association is tackling two public health crises at once: prescription drug abuse and chronic pain.

“We have been saying for some time that providing comprehensive, integrative, pain care that involves non-medication treatments along with appropriate medication treatments should help prevent prescription drug abuse, addiction, and overdose, while simultaneously improving care for people with pain,” said Bob Twillman, executive director of the American Academy of Pain Management. “Promoting this integrative model of pain care is the Academy’s mission, and we are proud that chiropractors constitute one of the largest groups within our membership. The conservative approach described by the ACA works very well for many people with chronic pain…

Very well?  Somebody get out a Clinton dictionary, we need definitions for “very,” “well,” and “many.”

The CDC back in April launched a social media initiative welcoming the stories of those affected by prescription painkiller addiction. Its campaign, titled “When the Prescription Becomes the Problem,” was designed to raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse and overdose.

It’s only fair that the CDC give pain patients equal time on social media, welcoming stories of those affected by the drug war.  We can call the campaign, “When the DEA and the CDC Become the Problem.”

More recently, a group of 27 medical organizations announced a new task force designed to tackle narcotic abuse. With the American Medical Association (AMA) at the helm, the group is urging physicians to both register and use state-based prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) before prescribing painkillers to patients. Another one of the task force’s initiatives is educating prescribers on evidence-based prescribing.

Does that mean doctors are going to stop prescribing drugs off-label?  Yeah, that’ll be the day.

“The increased usage of opioids has led to unanticipated consequences such as a tolerance among some patients to the drug hydrocodone and negative treatment outcomes for conditions such as work-related musculoskeletal disorders, joint replacements and spine surgery,” Hamm said. “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.”

He added: “That misunderstanding can lead to over-exertion and a delay in the healing process or even to a permanent painful condition.”

And yet, isn’t it also true that inadequately treated pain delays the healing process and can result in a permanent painful condition, like intractable pain?

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