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The State of the Opioid Epidemic

Opioids are a major problem in the United States. The crisis is serious, but sometimes people forget it is preventable, and many people don’t seem to realize the great progress that has been made over the last few years to improve conditions and help bring this crisis to its end. In fact, 48 states plus the District of Columbia have already filed lawsuits against opioid-producing pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma. As of today, the only states not involved with active litigation against the OxyContin producer are Michigan and Nebraska.

More and more states are continuing to battle this crisis by offering alternative solutions to opioids. One major change that several states have implemented is the limitation on what injuries qualify for opioid prescriptions, and the number of pills and refills available per prescription. Another alternative continuing to grow nationally is marijuana, now legal for medicinal purposes in 33 states and the District of Columbia, and it is often used as an opioid alternative for those suffering from injuries that would typically be prescribed opioids such as chronic pain and cancer treatment.

Another major alternative that is readily legal in all 50 states is physical therapy. While opioids are capable of masking pain, physical therapy is a tremendous option in that it allows for patients to learn how to deal with and overcome pain, and it ultimately provides recovery instead of simply hiding the pain for a temporary period of time. Physical therapy is also beneficial in that it helps you live freely. Through PT, you will increase your range of motion and decrease physical pain making life more livable. This is a stark contrast to dangerous opioids, which can lead to debilitating conditions like addiction and abuse. As an opioid alternative, physical therapy is widely embraced in the medical community, and even recommended by the CDC in some scenarios where opioids have been prescribed.

Opioid use has been on the decline since 2011, falling by more than thirty percent in the last eight years. If this trend is going to continue and the national epidemic is going to come to an end, lawmakers and doctors alike must continue the trend of avoiding opioids and increasing safer alternatives for potential opioid patients like physical therapy. More information about opioid prescriptions can be found here, and more information about some of the safer alternatives to opioids can be found here.

At Access Physical Therapy & Wellness we are dedicated to helping our patients feel the best they can. If you need advice or assistance in getting back to feeling your best, contact one of our 35+ locations. To find out the closest location to you, visit