Having worked in in-patient psych facilities as a nurse, I often wanted to do a little community acupuncture while the patients were in group therapy. The big problem (especially in KY where we received and "F" for mental health) is insurance companies don't want to pay for the minimum proven therapies, let alone anything extra like acupuncture. 28-day programs are reserved for those with tri-care, those with MDs who want to milk every possible day out of Medicaid/Medicare benefits (whether the patient needs it or not), or the affluent. Luckily, there are some progressive thinkers who see acupuncture as a useful tool for fighting addiction and helping prevent relapse.
Acupuncture-based pilot program helps fight addictions
BY KELLI LACKETT
Mike Allen had tried to stop drinking before.
And he'd succeeded for a few months at a time. But he always went back to the bottle.
That was until he was arrested on a drug charge, served a short time in jail as part of a probation sentence and then started receiving acupuncture this spring while on probation.
Allen said the acupuncture helped with the physical symptoms of withdrawal and supplemented the work he was doing through recovery groups and counseling.
Allen was one of 30 clients of three agencies who received acupuncture as part of a voluntary pilot program started in March. Fort Collins licensed acupuncturist Abbye Silverstein treated the clients in the joint venture of Larimer County Community Corrections, the state 8th Judicial Probation Department and Larimer County Department of Human Services.
A high percentage of offenders who have been through the criminal justice system have substance abuse problems, said Les Rudner, probations supervisor for the state 8th Judicial Probation department.
"We were seeing offenders with substance abuse problems coming back through the system again and again. We were trying to look at what we could do that we weren't doing now to prevent present relapses. When I started doing the research, one thing that came up was acupuncture," Rudner said.
Research in other communities has shown that offenders who receive acupuncture as part of a recovery program were more likely to complete treatment for substance abuse. And there were lower re-arrest rates among those who received acupuncture in court-mandated programs.