Acupuncture,Opioid epidemic,pain,Opiate dependency,Effectiveness,Safety,Cost-effectiveness,Mechanism,United States," /> Acupuncture,Opioid epidemic,pain,Opiate dependency,Effectiveness,Safety,Cost-effectiveness,Mechanism,United States,"/> 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
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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2017, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (6): 411-425.doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(17)60378-9

Special Issue: Acupuncture & Moxibustion

• Global Views •     Next Articles

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

Arthur Yin Fana, David W. Millerb,c,d, Bonnie Bolashc, Matthew Bauerc,e, John McDonaldc,f, Sarah Faggertb,g, Hongjian Heb,h, i, Yong Ming Lij, Amy Mateckii, k, Lindy Camardellab,c, Mel Hopper Koppelmanc,f, Jennifer A.M. Stoneb,l, Lindsay Meadeb,c, John Pangm   

  1. a The American TCM Association, Vienna, VA 22182, USA 
    b The American Society of Acupuncturists, Chicago, IL 60618, USA 
    c The Joint Acupuncture Opioid Task Force, La Verne, CA 91750, USA 
    d Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Chicago, IL 60601, USA 
    e The Acupuncture Now Foundation, La Verne, CA 91750, USA 
    f The Acupuncture Evidence Project, Providence, RI 02860, USA 
    g The Acupuncture Society of Virginia, Vienna, VA 22182, USA 
    h The National Federation of Chinese TCM Organizations, New York, NY 11501, USA 
    i The American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture Safety, Greenwich, CT 06878, USA 
    j The American Traditional Chinese Medicine Society, New York, NY 11501, USA 
    k Highland Hospital, Alameda Health System, Oakland, CA 94602, USA 
    l Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA 
    m University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, CA 92093, USA
  • Received:2017-10-08 Accepted:2017-10-17 Online:2017-11-15 Published:2018-11-15
  • Contact: David W. Miller, MD, FAAP, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM); E-mail:

The United States (U.S.) is facing a national opioid epidemic, and medical systems are in need of non-pharmacologic 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 fulfil 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.

Key words: Acupuncture, Opioid epidemic, pain, Opiate dependency, Effectiveness, Safety, Cost-effectiveness, Mechanism, United States

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5 The Food and Drug Administration. Introduction for the FDA blueprint for prescriber education for extendedrelease and long-acting opioid analgesics. (2017-05) [2017- 08-19]. InformationbyDrugClass/UCM515636.pdf.
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