Part of the response in the US has been to push non-pharmaceutical options for pain control. This is when Chinese medicine can be invaluable. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) recommend acupuncture as a first-line therapy for coping with the opioid crisis because it is found to be effective, safe and cost-effective for numerous types of acute and chronic pain.
In the UK, there is no official support for acupuncture or other unconventional treatment options to opioids. Acupuncture primarily sits outside the National Health Service, so people usually pay privately for treatment. But people come for treatment because they hear about it from friends and family. The evidence is also clear about the effectiveness of acupuncture for 117 conditions.
In my day-to-day practice, about a third of patients come for pain, usually for musculoskeletal or neurological reasons. It is wonderful seeing someone walk out of clinic a different person, one in less pain, more relaxed, and with a smile on their face. Because this is what I do every day I sometimes take acupuncture for granted, but it is a truly remarkable system of medicine.
Photo by Dima Vishnevetsky from FreeImages