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Group calls for pain management alternatives in wake of opioid crisis

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The Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management is calling on governments to look at alternative treatments as they address the opioid crisis.

Last year, 19-million prescriptions were written for opioids in Canada, leaving the country with the second-highest rate in the world.

Coalition chair Michael Heitshu told 660 NEWS alternative treatments such as physio and occupation therapy; chiropractic; or psychological treatment could reduce that number. Those treatments currently aren’t covered by public health-care, but he said there are solutions.

“First, non-pharmacological pain management is embedded as essential health care, and this is a challenge because right now most non-pharmacological pain management is outside of Canada’s mainstream healthcare system. Second, both patients and prescribers are empowered to make safer choices in pain management.”

According to statistics, almost one in 500 people prescribed opioids, eventually die from related causes.

The group released the report Monday at a conference in Calgary.