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Opioid Abuse Epidemic is Worse Than Previously Thought

Chronic pain expert says it’s time to get serious about alternative methods of treating pain.


A new poll released earlier this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 56% of Americans have a close personal connection to someone who has abused prescription painkillers. The survey included a nationally representative telephone sample of 1352 adults who were asked about prescription painkiller abuse. Results of the study include:

  • 9% of those surveyed reported that a family member or close friend had died of an overdose
  • 27% reported that they or someone close to them has been addicted
  • 45% reported that either they or someone they know has taken a painkiller that wasn’t prescribed to them.

According to Cindy Perlin, LCSW, an expert in alternative methods of treating pain, “This poll shows that the problem of prescription painkiller abuse and death is far worse than has been previously reported.  This drug epidemic started in doctors’ offices with unnecessary prescriptions for opioids for acute and chronic pain.  Opioids are not safe and they’re not the most effective treatment for pain.  It’s time to get serious about stopping this epidemic by reducing unnecessary prescriptions.”  

Perlin has developed a legislative proposal, the Pain Treatment Parity Act, that would require physicians to be educated about, and insurance companies to cover, all treatments that have been scientifically proven effective in relieving pain.  Treatments would have to be covered to the same extent as pharmaceutical treatments for pain.  Treatments that would be covered under the law would include acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, energy healing, exercise programs, herbs, homeopathy, nutritional counseling and vitamin supplementation, low level laser therapy, marijuana, massage, physical therapy and psychotherapy. The legislation would also require increases in fees for health care providers who treat pain through alternative methods.  According to Perlin, “These health care providers have not had fee increases in 35 years from insurance companies and as a result availability of these services has been declining.”  

Perlin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, certified biofeedback practitioner, chronic pain survivor and the author of “The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free.”  More information about her book can be found at


 Chronic pain
 prescription painkillers
 opioid abuse
 safe pain treatments

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