APTA Launches a National Campaign on Choosing Physical Therapy Over Opioids For Pain Management

By Crystal D. Thomas, DPT

The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national campaign this month to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management. #ChoosePT

The Opioid Epidemic

America has been in a battle against opioids for decades, however the epidemic has recently shifted to prescription opioid abuse that has a direct link to heroin abuse.

Did you know that Opioid prescriptions have quadrupled since 1999?

In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions, enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills. As the volume of opioids has increased, so has the amount of misuse, abuse and overdose

Who’s affected? – The opioid epidemic does NOT discriminate.

Opioid and heroin use have increased significantly across most demographic groups. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) cites, “As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction. Every day more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. Since 1999, more than 165,000 people in the United States have died from opioid pain-medication-related overdoses.

What has been done?

In New York State, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed Part C of Chapter 69 of the Laws of 2016, which lowers the limit for opioid prescriptions for acute pain from 30 days to no more than 7 days (exceptions for chronic pain and other conditions are allowed). Before prescribing opioids, providers are encouraged to check to see if non-opioid therapies have been utilized clinicians were urged to consider opioid therapy.

What can you do?

Educate yourself on the risks of opioids and ask your provider for alternatives for pain management.

Do you, or someone you know, complain of pain on a regular basis?

Stay tuned next week for our blog on how to assess and address pain.

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