Cleveland VA Medical Center Shares Alternatives to Opioids with Presidential Task Force
The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs joined President Trump’s opioid task force at the Cleveland VA Medical Center on Thursday. They were in town to hear from VA doctors on their best practices for pain management and opioid use.
Guidelines for prescribing opioids, alternative medicine for dealing with pain, and a continuum of care for opioid addiction – these are among the best practices the VA has been using nationally since 2013. The Cleveland VA began even earlier. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin said Cleveland is showing strong results.
“Just four percent of the patient population they serve are using and being prescribed opioids, which is well, well below what you would find across the country," Shulkin said.
At a roundtable discussion that included President Trump’s advisor, Kellyanne Conway, the VA shared some of its practices to address pain, including the use of alternative treatments such as acupuncture, yoga and meditation.
“In not all cases must pain management mean pain medicine," Conway said. "There are opioids and there are other modalities. And we saw that first hand here. To read about it is one thing. To intuit as a lay person is quite another. But to see it in practice is quite remarkable and something I will take back to the White House and really never forget.”
The opioid task force will issue its report on November first. The group’s chairman, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, said he expects the president to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency “in the very near future.”