Include TCM and acupuncture in Ontario's strategy to prevent addiction and overdose!
Opioid abuse and opioid-related deaths are an epidemic in Ontario, and non-opioid alternatives have been proven to be effective, safer, and more cost-effective in the long-term treatment of chronic pain. Our healthcare system has become dependent on the use of opioid as a primary means of addressing chronic pain. However, supported evidence-based research has displayed significant potential for non-drug alternatives, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture.
We, the public, have been in support of TCM and Acupuncture across Canada over many decades. We are aware that there are practitioners who have volunteered their time and efforts to promote TCM in Canada for the past few decades. Most associations have been communicating with ministry employees to discuss the benefits of acupuncture as an alternative to pain relief. In the news release, Ontario Taking Action to Prevent Opioid Abuse, the Ontario government laid out its plans for implementing its first comprehensive opioid strategy to prevent opioid addiction and overdose, by implementing pain management practices, such as the Addiction Outpatient Services clinic at Toronto Western Hospital. Per the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network and their research on prescription opioid use in Ontario, the efficacy and safety of opioid use in treating chronic non-cancer pain has been widely questioned due to a lack of long-term studies. However, many acupuncture practitioners throughout Ontario have long advocated for non-drug approaches to pain treatment, and applauds the provincial government’s attention to complementary therapies. Multiple associations collaborated to address the growing opioid crisis by writing the Honourable Eric Hoskins, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for continued support in alternative treatments, including TCM and Acupuncture.
Research is showing that acupuncture can effectively stimulate the production of the body’s own “endogenous opioids” as well as natural anti-inflammatory compounds. In other words, acupuncture can facilitate the better usage of the body’s own natural chemistry creating the potential for similar or sometimes better benefits than synthetic drugs, without the risks of addiction or side effects. This being the case, acupuncture has the potential to reduce or even in some cases eliminate the need for opioids and non-opioid drugs while also helping to treat opioid addiction.
Given the magnitude of the current crisis in Ontario concerning opioid abuse and death related to the abuse of opioids, non-opioid alternative approaches for the management of chronic pain have shown to be safer, be more cost-effective, and more effective in managing pain. Non-opioid alternatives should not only be considered, but be presented to patients as one of the main treatment options.
Please sign the petition to urge the Ontario government to include TCM and Acupuncture as an option for the current abuse and overuse of opioids, and to show support for the unified work of the TCM and Acupuncture associations.
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