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Top tags: blog  chiropractic  collaborate  collaboration  crisis  fix  help  opioid  opioids  solve  solving 

Solving the Opioids Crisis: The Key is Collaboration

Posted By Maria del Mar A. Villar-Villar, Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association, Friday, December 6, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Solving the Opioids Crisis: The Key


is Collaboration



The opioids crisis began many years ago as a result of doctors trying to help their patients with their pain management. It was believed that prescribing opioid medications was beneficial to patients dealing with severe acute pain because they were unaware of the risks. Therefore, the opioid medications were overprescribed because they were very effective in helping patients receive relief. Once the adverse effects were known, there began a push to restrict the overuse of opioid medications, and so people who had unfortunately become addicted to these substances turned to street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Different groups would like to point fingers at different reasons for causing the opioids crisis, but ultimately, we are in crisis, and now we’re looking for solutions to help solve it.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Unfortunately, because we are in crisis, there is a tendency to overreact in order to solve the problem right away. This is a mistake because there are some people who benefit from limited, controlled, opioid use. The opioid crisis itself is deep because a lot of times people get in chronic pain situations because of depression, PTSD, or some other non-physical trauma that’s creating pain. We have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater because there are some people who have gotten help from prescription opioids. The trouble runs into when you’re using them to treat patients with chronic pain problems because there is no plan to stop use. If you restrict usage for everybody, then you lose the ability to do what the opioids were supposed to do in the first place with is help manage pain in acute situations.



Use a team-based approach.



In order to help mitigate the damage caused by the opioids crisis, if not solve it all together, it is important to improve collaboration among the healthcare community. For example, if we have the ability to see a patient and have their permission, we can have a dialogue with the prescribing provider on why the patient is receiving their prescription to opioids. Sometimes, the provider doesn’t even know that they’re still getting the prescription, sometimes it has been mis-prescribed, or it was something that was prescribed and the re-prescribed without much thought. This is why a team based approach is so important when dealing with a patient’s pain management, so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Conclusion: Collaboration is key.


Ultimately, there isn’t just one solution to the opioids crisis. If you talk to providers across the board, you’ll get different feelings about who’s responsible and why they’re responsible. Chiropractic has a huge role in the crisis, but we need to keep these other important factors in mind. The best thing we can do is to be objective about the problem and not think that the solution rests on one discipline or one profession. It needs to be collaborative effort among all of us communicating with each other with the patient’s needs at the forefront of our conversation. This way we can all provide great care of the patients who seek our help.

Want more resources on the Opioids Crisis?


Visit our webpage here:


Or, as a UVCA member, take advantage of the F4CP’s resources:



Dr. AJ LaBarbera is the Vice President of Marketing and Brand Development for Tuck Chiropractic Clinics in Virginia. He is responsible for the organization’s branding, communications, media, Experience Outcome Measures (PREM), and intra- and inter-professional collaborative activities. He sees patients at Tuck’s Bedford and Boutetourt, Virginia offices. 


Dr. LaBarbera grew up in Roanoke, Virginia. After graduating from Cave Spring High School, he went on to get his Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology from Virginia Tech. Following graduation from Tech, Dr. LaBarbera spent the next four years pursuing his Doctorate (DC) from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa. In 2002, after spending some time practicing with a doctor outside Chicago, he moved back home to Virginia to practice. 


Dr. LaBarbera serves as a Virginia State Representative to Palmer College of Chiropractic, Treasuerer of the Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association Board of Directors and Chair of the UVCA Opioids Task Force.




Tags:  blog  chiropractic  collaborate  collaboration  crisis  fix  help  opioid  opioids  solve  solving 

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