White Paper: Acupuncture’s Role In Solving The Opioid Epidemic

Acupuncture’s Role in Solving the Opioid Epidemic: Evidence, Cost-Effectiveness, and Care Availability for Acupuncture as a Primary, Non-Pharmacologic Method for Pain Relief and Management—White Paper 2017


The United States (U.S.) is facing a national opioid epidemic, and medical systems are in need of nonpharmacologic strategies that can be employed to decrease the public’s opioid dependence. Acupuncture has emerged as a powerful, evidence-based, safe, cost-effective, and available treatment modality suitable to meeting this need. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for the management of numerous types of pain conditions, and mechanisms of action for acupuncture have been described and are understandable from biomedical, physiologic perspectives. Further, acupuncture’s cost-effectiveness can dramatically decrease health care expenditures, both from the standpoint of treating acute pain and through avoiding addiction to opioids that requires costly care, destroys quality of life, and can lead to fatal overdose.

Numerous federal regulatory agencies have advised or mandated that healthcare systems and providers offer non-pharmacologic treatment options for pain. Acupuncture stands out as the most evidence-based, immediately available choice to fulfill these calls. Acupuncture can safely, easily, and cost-effectively be incorporated into hospital settings as diverse as the emergency department, labor and delivery suites, and neonatal intensive care units to treat a variety of commonly seen pain conditions. Acupuncture is already being successfully and meaningfully utilized by the Veterans Administration and various branches of the U.S. Military, in some studies demonstrably decreasing the volume of opioids prescribed when included in care.

Acupuncture’s Role In Solving The Opioid Epidemic

Multivitamin Is An Insurance Policy

A daily multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy. True, a healthy diet should provide nearly all the nutrients you need. But many people don’t eat the healthiest of diets. That’s why a multivitamin can help fill in the gaps, and may have added health benefits.

Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. It’s important not to go overboard with vitamins. While a multivitamin and a vitamin D supplement can help fill some of the gaps in a less than optimal diet, too much can be harmful.

  • In general, stick close to standard recommended doses in a multivitamin. And since your multivitamin will likely contain all the folic acid you’ll need, stay away from cereals, protein bars, and other foods that are super-fortified with folic acid.

Read enough nutrition news, and you’ll see that not all scientists agree on multivitamins. Some say that there’s not enough proof that multivitamins boost health, so they don’t recommend them. Other scientists point to studies that seem to show a link between multivitamin use and increased risk of death.  But those studies are flawed. Looking at all the evidence, the potential health benefits of taking a standard daily multivitamin seem to outweigh the potential risks for most people.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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White Paper: Complementary and Integrative Healthcare

White Paper:  Complementary and Integrative Healthcare – How it Fits in the Healthcare System

Executive Summary

The ever evolving healthcare system will see significant changes coming in the future. Complementary (CAM) and integrated medicine will continue to grow as major players in how Americans treat medical problems. CAM is defined as a “ group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine…“The Complementary medicine” refers to use of CAM together with conventional medicine, such as using in addition to usual care to help lessen pain.

Most use of CAM by Americans is complementary. “Alternative medicine” refers to use of CAM in place of conventional medicine. “Integrative medicine” combines treatments from conventional medicine and CAM for which there is some high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness. It is also called integrated medicine.” (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Article: America Ranks Last

A harrowing report was put out by the Commonwealth Fund in 2014. Out of 11 industrialized countries, the United States came in dead last for its health care system. It was not one issue that led to its embarrassingly low ranking. America placed 5th for quality care, 9th for access to care, and 11th in each of three categories: efficiency, equity, and “healthy lives”. Healthy lives takes into account infant mortality, preventable deaths, and overall life expectancy for people at age 60.

What do those other countries have that we don’t?

Universal health care.

The point in all this? The AHCA still has to pass the Senate before it becomes the law of the land. No matter which law prevails, the ACA or AHCA, private insurers will find some way to use it to their advantage and turn a profit.

As long as they hold those reigns, actual patient care will come second place to dollars and cents.

Without change, our American health system will continue to rank low compared to other industrialized nations. If we are trying to make America great again, we need healthy citizens to get us there.

This begs the question: Can we revamp our current healthcare system to decrease the power of the almighty insurance company? Or is it time for the United States to turn to a single payer system, i.e. universal healthcare?

Let the debate begin.

by Tanya Feke, MD