Acupuncture and the “Opioid Epidemic”

The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA recently called for submissions on their draft revised prescribing guidelines for opioid medications. This was in response to what has been described by the Journal of the American Medical Association as “The Opioid Epidemic” with prescribed opioid medications accounting for more deaths in the US than any illegal drug. The Acupuncture Now Foundation joined with the American Society of Acupuncturists to form the Joint Acupuncture Opioid Task Force which lodged a submission in the CDC process. The main points in the submission were:

  1. Acupuncture is an effective, safe and cost-effective treatment for various types of pain. Acupuncture should be recommended for the treatment of pain before opiates are prescribed.
  1. Acupuncture analgesic mechanisms have been extensively researched and include the production and release of endogenous opioids.
  1. Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain involving adverse neuroplasticity.
  1. Acupuncture is a useful adjunctive therapy in opiate dependency and rehabilitation.

The full text of the submission can be found at:

Two White Papers regarding the potential role of acupuncture in the opioid crisis have recently been sent to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US. One was written for the Acupuncture Now Foundation (ANF) by Matthew Bauer and John McDonald, and the second White Paper was a collaboration between ANF and several acupuncture organisations including the American Society of Acupuncturists.

ANF White paper on Acupuncture’s role in solving the opioid epidemic

The second White Paper has recently been published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

The potential role of acupuncture in the opioid crisis

The original version can also be downloaded free from the American Society of Acupuncturists website

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