From Acupuncture to Involuntary Commitment: Alternative Approaches to the Opioid Crisis

Oct 18, 2017

We talk to NHPR reporter Paige Sutherland about two topics in her series, "Alternatives - N.H. Gets Creative to Curb Ongoing Opioid Crisis": an acupuncture detoxification treatment and involuntary commitment. 


AcuDetox: The 5-Point Therapy To Help Manage Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

A new state law (HB 575) allows licensed health-care professionals, recovery coaches, and peer counselors to administer a five-point ear treatment to addicts in flexible settings such as sobriety meetings and at recovery shelters. Many acupuncturists worry this bill will allow the procedure to be performed in unsafe, unregulated locations, and some are concerned that it could replace, rather than supplement, other tools for treating addiction. 

GUESTS:

  • Deborah Meuse - A New Hampshire licensed acupuncturist who provides 5-Element Acupuncture (Acu-Detox) in her practice, and does not support HB 575. 
  • Laura Cooley - A New Hampshire licensed acupuncturist who is an advocate for HB 575. 

We also heard from Representative Peter Hansen from Amherst, who served on the subcommittee that oversaw HB 575. He says:

We approached this as a committee as more or less a triage situation. Would you rather have acupuncturists having people visiting their offices if they could, or would you try to get the people who are well-trained and competent outside on the streets taking care of these people? ... I think that the concerns about safety are somewhat valid, but we must remember that we're talking about people who are certified, number one, so hopefully the certification is something that would be acceptable to everyone. 

Involuntary Commitment

New Hampshire has no current policy that allows an adult to be involuntarily committed for drug abuse, unlike Massachusetts, where some people have found it life-saving. But as New Hampshire continues to struggle with a shortage of treatment beds, families and healthcare workers worry that the policy could lead to a larger backlog of cases. 

GUESTS:

  • Sheryl Mercier - New Hampshire mother and police officer whose son John died from a Fentanyl overdose last year. Mercier supports a policy for involuntary commitment in New Hampshire.
  • We also hear excerpts from previously recorded interviews with patients, and families, who support and oppose an involuntary commitment policy.