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West Virginia Passes “Opioid Reduction Act” Requiring Alternative Treatment Plans

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West Virginia Passes “Opioid Reduction Act” Requiring Alternative Treatment Plans

Afton, VA April 26,2018. On March 27, 2018,West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 273, “Reducing Use of Certain Prescription Drugs” into law effective June 7, 2018. The purpose of Senate Bill 273 is to reduce the overuse of prescriptions of opioids and create a method to provide alternative treatment plans rather than prescribing.

The West Virginia Chiropractic Society and many Doctors of Chiropractic waged a necessary battle at the State Capitol to include alternative treatment methods, such as chiropractic services, prior to prescribing opioids for acute and chronic pain to state residents.  Doctors of Chiropractic have the support of the majority of WV Legislators to help combat the opioid epidemic in West Virginia.  Alternative treatment methods are now a mandatory requirement of all new patients with acute and chronic pain.For additional information about the WVCS, please go to

Along with the mandatory requirement for alternative treatment, Senate Bill 273 requires the Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA), the State Medicaid and any insurance provider in West Virginia to cover these alternative treatment plans.  At least 20 visits per case must be covered as stipulated in the approved version of Senate Bill 273. 

Inadequate pain management coupled with the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has taken a severe toll on the lives of tens of thousands of people in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as one in four patients who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in the ER for misusing prescription opioids. Deaths involving opioids have quadrupled since 1999; in 2014 alone, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving the drugs. That same year, another 2 million people abused or were dependent on opioids.

Beyond the risks of addiction and overdose, prescription drugs that numb pain may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is or that it has healed. This misunderstanding can lead to overexertion and a delay in the healing process, or even lead to permanent injury.

Chiropractic and other conservative (non-drug) approaches to pain management can be an important first line of defense against pain and addiction caused by the overuse of prescription opioid pain medications.  There is a growing body of research that validates the effectiveness of chiropractic services, leading many respected health care organizations to recommend chiropractic and its drug-free approach to pain relief.

Source: Practice Analysis of Chiropractic, 2015, NBCE. J. Morris, H.R. Mir. The Opioid Epidemic: Impact on Orthopedic Surgery. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 2015; 23 (5): 267 DOI: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-14-00163. 

Source: Lauretti, William, April 10, 2018. “Chiropractic and the Opioid Epidemic: Rethinking Our Approach to Pain ”". 

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