(Natural News) President Donald J. Trump looks set to keep an earlier promise to declare the current opioid epidemic a national emergency, and while that decision is not being universally praised by everyone, others think it is a good first step.
However, alternative medicine supporters and those who have always advocated for medical freedom say there has always been a better way to treat chronic pain instead of handing out boatloads of habit-forming prescription painkillers, Fox News reports.
A two-pronged approach — using regulatory powers and educating the traditional medical industry — can not only reduce over-reliance on prescription opioids, but also dramatically cut back on the number of Americans who are dying from opioid overdoses.
First, the regulatory approach. Food and Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb is set to revise existing rules regarding the approval and removal of opioids from circulation. Also, he will enhance and expand opioid educational outreach to health care providers including nurses and pharmacists.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, has instructed the Department of Justice to identify and prosecute so-called mills that churn out opioid prescriptions that end up hooking scores of people on the dangerous drugs.
That’s important because curtailing the overall number of prescriptions for opioids will also dramatically reduce the amount of pills in circulation theoretically. In 2015 an astounding number of Americans — around 92 million, or 38 percent of the population — received a prescription for opioids and took opioid medications, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
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But in terms of reducing the need for opioids in the first place, alternative care and healthcare education experts say identifying the source of a person’s pain and treating it is a far better approach to masking the pain with opioid painkillers.
As Fox News reported:
The vast majority of opioid abuse and addiction cases begin with doctors and other health care providers offering relief from pain. Opioids provide the relief, but not by addressing the pain. Instead, the drugs induce a numbed and euphoric state in which suffering is temporarily masked.
However, short-term relief can lead to increased future pain if the underlying source of pain is not healed. And the pills put patients – and everyone with access to their medicine cabinets – at risk of dependence.
There are natural alternatives. For U.S Army Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead, retired, the first female commander general in combat, she sought chiropractic care and credited it with saving her life.
She began suffering unbearable pain due to chronic fibromyalgia, and for the military the “answer” was giving her several prescription drugs. “I refused and sought out other solutions,” she said. (Related: Drug overdose is now the LEADING cause of death for Americans under 50… Big Pharma’s opioid death machine marches on.)
The former general added that opioid abuse and addition “have put our nation at risk, with millions of lives literally hanging in the balance. Unfortunately, people get prescribed addictive painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone and percocet, and the downward journey begins.”
The Annals of Internal Medicine published a report in April recommending other non-drug treatments for chronic pain cases like “exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or spinal manipulation.”
The problem is getting traditional care providers to stop being pressured by patients, put down their prescription pads and actually recommend the alternative, natural treatments like chiropractic, biofeedback, yoga and other therapies.
Also, the report noted two important things about pain and especially back pain: It almost always improves over time. As for back pain, fixing it rarely requires surgery.
“Patients with acute or subacute low back pain usually get better over time, so they probably will not need medicines. They should discuss other treatment options with their doctors,” the report noted.