NYT Editorial Includes Wider Use of PT Among Strategies to Battle Opioid Epidemic

choose pt1*Article courtesy of PT in Motion News from the APTA.

The editorial board of The New York Times (NYT) says that Congress has “snapped to attention” and produced a “flurry of legislation” aimed at battling the opioid abuse epidemic, but warns that the efforts need to be backed up by appropriate funding for prevention and treatment—including the use of physical therapy as an alternative approach to addressing pain.

“The House last week passed 18 bills related to opioids, and the Senate approved a comprehensive bill in March,” the NYT states in a May 16 editorial. “The question now is whether Congress will appropriate enough money to address the scale of the problem.”

In addition to pressing for more federal funding for treatment programs, the editorial also calls for greater attention to prevention strategies related to pain treatment, specifically mentioning physical therapy as a nondrug treatment that should be easier for consumers to access and pay for through insurance.

“States, which have more sway over doctors and hospitals, need to do more on the prevention side by placing limits on opioid prescriptions,” according to the editorial. “States can encourage doctors to order alternative pain treatments, like physical therapy, and require insurers to cover those services.”

The editorial’s position is consistent with recent guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, which have both pressed for the use of nonopioid treatments, including physical therapy, as a first-line approach to chronic pain.

“Congress may be late to wake up to the epidemic, but it does at last seem prepared to open more paths to treatment,” the editorial concludes.