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Trump Declared the Opioid Crisis Is a National Emergency

President Trump declared that the opioid epidemic is a national emergency. According to CNN, this step will provide more resources to state and federal agencies to fight the opioid scourge. Just two days ago, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said that declaring a national emergency was not necessary, while an interim report from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was also in favor of declaring a national emergency. 

These are mixed messages about what steps need to be taken at a federal level, but there’s no question that addiction to these painkillers is at an all-time high in the U.S. According to many addiction specialists, pain and hopelessness are primary drivers of this burgeoning crisis. Limiting the availability of opioids and making overdose-reversal drugs and treatment for drug addiction more readily available are part of the answer. But it's not enough.

We have to take a much deeper look at the root of the problem. What is causing all this physical pain and emotional distress in the first place? Clearly, the U.S. health care system is grossly ineffective when it comes to addressing chronic health problems. Whether pain is promoting hopelessness or the other way around is difficult to ascertain, but the two appear to be closely intertwined and need to be addressed together.

We need to refocus our efforts to create lives worth living, and improve access to and information about basic disease prevention, which begins with diet and basic lifestyle choices — the kind of information I've focused on with my newsletter and website.

With all the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, I strongly urge you to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs. For a long list of alternative pain treatments, please see my previous article, "New Treatment Guidelines for Back Pain Stress Nondrug Interventions."

Another step toward resolving the opioid epidemic would be contrition on the part of the drug industry and prescribing doctors.  The mainstream medical establishment must acknowledge that they are responsible for the opioid scourge and embrace a more holistic approach to pain management. Opioids should be viewed as a last resort. There are a number of sensible alternatives that do not involve highly addictive drugs. 

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is an empowering practice and can provide a drug-free approach to pain management. It borrows from the principles of acupuncture and helps resolve negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain. 

Optimizing your health is also crucial. As outlined in my nutrition plan, nourishing whole foods are the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and it is just as important to avoid processed items at all costs. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an extremely effective exercise strategy that is less time consuming than conventional fitness programs. A final tip is to never underestimate the restorative powers of rejuvenating sleep.
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