As the opioid epidemic grows and rages on in the country, many treatment facilities still have not looked deeper into considering alternative strategies for managing addiction. In fact, most alternative treatment for addiction perceived as controversial as the medical community focuses its attention on buprenorphine or methadone as the primary treatment medications. Majority of healthcare professional consider these medications as the gold standard in treating drug addiction.


Getting Alternative Treatment


Their intention is undeniably good, it can dramatically reduce deaths due to a drug overdose. However, these medications can still kill more than 100 people every day. Because of such mortality rate, many recovering addicts consider trying a different approach – getting alternative treatment to cure their drug addiction.


Getting ‘pinned’


Over the past few years, acupuncture captured the hearts of many recovering addicts. According to the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA), at least 600 addiction recovery centers across the US use acupuncture as an alternative treatment method for addiction. This ancient method does ‘release the grip of addiction’ but how it actually works remains a mystery. NADA’s Executive Director, Sara Bursac said that pinning certain points in the body can activate different organs and even emotions.


“BALTIMORE—Inside the Penn North recovery center one day last fall, dozens of recovering addicts propped their feet up on black folding chairs and closed their eyes. An acupuncturist stuck five small gold pins into each person’s ears.


La’Von Dobie, one of Penn North’s addiction counselors, sat down next to me. She told the acupuncturist that her right ankle was hurting, so he stuck two thin needles in her left wrist. For 15 minutes, there was darkness and sitar music. One man appeared to give himself a silent pep talk; another held out his hand, as though ready to receive something from the sky. When the pins came out, Dobie exclaimed that her ankle felt much better.


Daily acupuncture is a mandatory part of the addiction-recovery program at Penn North, whose staff I recently spent time with as part of a larger story on racial disparities in health. It’s not the only one to employ this unconventional approach: More than 600 addiction-recovery programs in the United States use acupuncture today, according to nada, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association.”



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