Six acupuncture organizations have released a 20-page white paper that outlines the profession’s value as an alternative to opioid medication for pain relief. The white paper is the product of a Joint Opioid Task Force established by the American Society of Acupuncturists and the Acupuncture Now Foundation. Other participating organizations include the American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture Safety, the American TCM Association, the American TCM Society and the National Federation of TCM Organizations. Here are some of the major points, each of which features extensive detail and supporting references:

“Acupuncture is an effective, safe, and cost-effective treatment for numerous types of acute and chronic pain. Acupuncture should be recommended as a first: line treatment for pain before opiates are prescribed, and may reduce opioid use.”

“Acupuncture’s analgesic mechanisms have been extensively researched and acupuncture can increase the production and release of endogenous opioids in animals and humans.”

“Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain involving maladaptive neuroplasticity.”

“Acupuncture is a useful adjunctive therapy in opiate dependency and rehabilitation.”

“Acupuncture has been recommended as a first line non-pharmacologic therapy by the FDA, as well as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in coping with the opioid crisis. The Joint Commission has also mandated that hospitals provide non-pharmacologic pain treatment modalities.”

“Among most non-pharmacological managements for pain relief now available, acupuncture therapy is the most effective and specific for opioid abuse and overuse.”