Chinese Medicine and the Opioid Epidemic

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The opioid epidemic is a crisis we haven’t seen before. The marketing of the pharmaceutical industry combined with overuse by medical doctors and patient abuse have resulted in rampant addictions, overdoses, and deaths. Chinese medicine can help play a role at many levels in helping this public health failure. This course will examine the epidemic, look at the drugs involved, addictions in general and specific to the epidemic. Most importantly, this course will discuss how to treat this epidemic in our clinics including discussing the interactions between acupuncture and opioid receptors, and helpful approaches, herbs, and acupuncture points.

Course Goals

  1. Understand the scope and current state of the “Opioid Epidemic”
  2. Discuss addictions in general and opioid addictions in particular
  3. Understand opioids as drugs and their interactions with acupuncture and herbs
  4. Apply practical approaches to dealing with patients who are struggling with opioid addiction including the use of acupuncture and herbs.

Image by Bullenwächter [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons