Legislators Advocate for Alternatives to Drugs for Pain

State legislators and treatment providers touted the benefits of care without the use of drugs Tuesday as part of Drug Free Pain Management Awareness Month.

State Assemblymen Andrew Raia, R-Northport, and John Mikulin, R-Bethpage, said alternatives to the use of drugs exist to handle pain and would help reduce the damage of a continuing  opioid epidemic, which has claimed the lives of thousands of Americans in recent years.

Dr. Mark Levitan, who opened the Pagoda Acupuncture and Wellness Center  in East Northport a few months ago, said, ““Chiropractic is a hands-on, non-invasive approach that has been well-documented…to be very, very effective in
acute as well as chronic pain management… it has higher clinical outcomes, lower costs, and very high patient satisfaction.

“We do know what a problem opioid abuse is,” he said.

“We all have loved ones and people close to us who have suffered from the opioid crisis sweeping our nation,” said Raia. “I’m proud to join Dr. Levitan and all those involved in working to find alternatives to highly-addictive opioids for treating chronic pain and other diseases. Together, we can solve this crisis.”

Though the number of drug-related deaths has declined, the totals are still high: Suffolk County officials said there there were 308 fatal overdoses last year, down from 410 fatal overdoses in 2017. Nassau County reported 147 people died as the result of overdoses in 2018, down from 184 fatal overdoses in 2017.

“There are so many people suffering,” Mikulin said. “It’s important that there are these alternatives to opioids.”

Since 2001, chiropractors and others have been trying to raise awareness of healthy alternatives to drug use to manage pain. 

Raia, in talking about a back problem, cited the the use of a TENS device (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), heat and other simple non-drug techniques for coping with pain. “People have a choice,” he said, noting that a large percentage of drug-addicted patients started with a prescription. 

“There are very clear guidelines for the prescription of opioids,” Levitan said. “They are being used well beyond guidelines.”

Raia with a proclamation about the value of non-drug pain management techniques.

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