The Opioid Epidemic and New Ideas

You cannot turn on a television without seeing it. You can’t read a magazine or a newspaper without it being there. It is all the buzz, from Washington DC to Jefferson City to Camdenton City Hall. If you believe the hype, you are now convinced that there is an Opioid Epidemic.

Admittedly, there are patients who do not use their medication but sell it.  There are folks who use SOME of their pain medication but share it with others. And there are some who have it stolen from them – either the medication itself from their homes/cars/purses or the paper prescriptions themselves. Saddest of all is when dying cancer patients have it stolen from them by those who are caring for them.

But it may relieve you to know that this is a small percentage of all the folks who legitimately require pain medication to make it through another day of work, or simply another day or night. The majority of responsible patients appreciate what the medications mean to them – salvation from the kind of pain that depresses the soul and that sends them to the edge of the pit, even considering suicide. Right now, we have few weapons in the arsenal against chronic severe pain besides opioid pain medication, and when it is one’s only genuine weapon, one must reach for it.

In search of a better understanding of what pain really is, and how to address it, I have taken the step into an ancient world.  With my right foot still firmly planted in allopathic, modern Western medicine – the science and art I was taught in medical school, trained in during my residency training and have practiced for 15 years – I step lightly into the world of Eastern medicine and its 5,000-year-old practice and refinement. I found a course geared entirely to the Medical Doctor – physicians educated and trained like me – which integrates Western with Eastern medicine, also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine.

With our understanding of the Central Nervous System, the concept of meridians and neurotransmitters intermingles and all the cogs fit together to illustrate a beautiful “machine” that is the human body. This course started in April and runs through the end of November this year, and I have studied and learned from my laptop up to now. In July-August, I travel out of state for several intense days of practical hands-on learning. Because we don’t learn everything we need to know from a book or a lecture – we have to PRACTICE.

When I complete this course of training, I will be certified in the Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture method. But I will be no ordinary acupuncturist – because I have the solid medical education and training behind me, with the Paul Harvey-esque “The Rest of The Story” understanding. My hope is that this rounding out of my knowledge will not only help me address the Opioid Epidemic by providing my members with a real alternative to narcotic pain medication, but also help similarly treat a multitude of other diseases and conditions.

I look forward to putting into practice all that I am learning. I hope that you – my members – will benefit from all the hard work involved in learning not only a new skill, but centuries of practice of an ancient art.