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Acupuncture's Role to Solving the Opioid Epidemic

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for the management of numerous types of pain, and mechanisms of action for acupuncture have been described and are understandable from biomedical, physiologic perspectives. 

-  Acupuncture's Role to Solving the Opioid Epidemic, White Paper 2017

  1. Acupuncture is an effective, safe, and cost-effective treatment for numerous types of acute and chronic pain. Acupuncture should be recommended as a first line treatment for pain before opiates are prescribed, and may reduce opioid use. 
  2. Acupuncture’s analgesic mechanisms have been extensively researched and acupuncture can increase the production and release of endogenous opioids in animals and humans. 
  3. Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain involving maladaptive neuroplasticity. 
  4. Acupuncture is a useful adjunctive therapy in opiate dependency and rehabilitation. 
  5. Acupuncture has been recommended as a first line non-pharmacologic therapy by the FDA, as well as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in coping with the opioid crisis. The Joint Commission has also mandated that hospitals provide non-pharmacologic pain treatment modalities. 
  6. Among most non-pharmacological managements for pain relief now available, acupuncture therapy is the most effective and specific for opioid abuse and overuse. 
  7. Acupuncture is widely available from qualified practitioners nationally. 

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