Most of us realize that the US has been suffering from a serious health issue stemming from the over-prescription of opioids. Now, in a moment of clarity and common sense, the state of West Virginia, which had the dubious distinction of featuring the highest prescription opioid fatality rate in the country in 2016, has enacted legislation intended to rectify this horrendous situation.
I received this story from Dr. Dennis Perman of the Masters Circle in New York, who recently shared with me about the passage of the Opioid Reduction Act, signed into law by WV Governor Jim Justice. It changes the regulations for chronic pain clinics and treatment programs to be less hazardous for patients and to expect more responsibility in doctors’ decision-making.
The ORA grants patients the right to request in advance to avoid opioids and requires the prescribing doctor to inform the patient of the amount of medication being recommended, as well as the option for the patient to choose a lesser quantity if desired. It insists that the doctor advise the patient of the possible consequences, putting much more control back into the hands of health care consumers.
It limits the emergency room use of narcotics to four days’ worth for adults and three days’ worth for minors, demanding that parents must be informed when ER docs give these powerful drugs to their children. And, under no circumstances are attending physicians permitted to suggest more than seven days of opioid use, a radical departure from previous dosage guidelines.
There is clearly a right time to use heavy medications, as anyone with intractable, excruciating pain will confirm. But this is the bed that the medical practitioners made for themselves, flogging these risky substances and generating epidemic dependence in too many people who did not necessarily need such extreme intervention — and now the pendulum is swinging the other way.
Some prescribers who are committed to opioids will rebel and search for loopholes, but this course correction will save lives, prevent unnecessary addiction, and redirect patients into exploring non-opioid methods of securing relief, not the least of which is chiropractic care, along with herbal pain relievers and CBD.
Unfortunately, for many opioids has become a convenient default, and their alternatives are few – for years in my office, as with many offices and clinics across the country, I have provided a better way for many or even most of these patients with our safe, all-natural approach.
I understand and at times have recommended that some people will still need to take heavy meds, but what if half or two thirds of them were able to step back from dangerous drugs and instead discover the miraculous healing and wellness benefits chiropractic is famous for?
If you are reading this article I encourage you to talk to your medical doctor or show him or her this blog and ask this person to read a synopsis of this West Virginia breakthrough law, and also the Medicare study done by Christine Goertz from Palmer and William Weeks from Dartmouth showing that towns with easier access to chiropractic care experience less opioid abuse.
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Yours for Better Health, Dr. Shapero
EXPECT MIRACLES – WE DO