I recently got back from a conference where the overwhelming discussions were about Narcotics and the opioid epidemic. Its a daily conversation any with Physical Therapists, Doctors, and most health care providers. Conversations about collaborative efforts to reduce opioid use included Physical Therapy for pain management strategies, holistic modalities such as electrical stimulation, and TENS units.
Statistics are everywhere that suggest the problem is a large one:
Some statistics via The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which released guidelines in March 2016 encouraging health care providers to try safer alternatives like physical therapy for most pain management:
1. In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million
prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every American
adult to have their own bottle of pills.
2. As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription
opioids long term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles
3. Sales of prescription opioids have nearly quadrupled since 1999.
4. Deaths related to prescription opioids have quadrupled.
5. Heroin-related overdose deaths more than
quadrupled between 2002 and 2014, and people addicted to prescription
opioids are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin.
6. More than 165,000 persons in the United States have died from opioid pain-medication-related overdoses since 1999.
7. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
Do you know someone in pain?
Encourage them to talk to their physician about seeing a physical therapist for safe ways to manage pain.
(information is from the American Physical Therapy public campaign to battle the opioid epidemic.
Bob Babb, PT