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Home / Media / The Canadian Chiropractic Association applauds Health Canada’s action to address the opioid crisis.

The Canadian Chiropractic Association applauds Health Canada’s action to address the opioid crisis.

Access to alternative care like chiropractic services the next hurdle to overcome.

TORONTO, ON – January 30, 2017 – The Canadian Chiropractic Association supports the new recommendations on the use of opioids that were issued by The Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre at McMaster University today. These recommendations were developed on behalf of Health Canada.

Reducing the pressure to prescribe is a critical first step. Now, we need to address why opioids are being prescribed in the first place, and a leading reason is back pain.

“There is compelling evidence that opioids are often prescribed for musculoskeletal conditions like back pain,” says Dr. Jason Busse, DC, PhD, Associate Professor, McMaster University. “Shifting away from opioids as first-line options to help manage pain is key to reducing the number of new opioid users. Ensuring access to evidence-based, non-opioid alternatives will be an important part of this strategy.”

Canada is the second-highest consumer of prescription opioids in the world and half of all annual drug-related deaths in this country are prescription opioid-related. Recognizing the important role of chiropractors as a means to address this, Health Canada asked the profession to be part of Canada’s opioid action plan late last year. The federal government; seven provincial health ministries; medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry associations; and 30 other partner organizations that have a role in reducing the impact of opioids have signed this plan.

“Chiropractic services are an important alternative to opioid prescribing,” says Alison Dantas, CEO, Canadian Chiropractic Association. “We are committed to working collaboratively to develop referral tools and guidelines for prescribing professions that can help to prioritize non-pharmacological approaches for pain management and reduce the pressure to prescribe.

More can be done to manage pain without immediately turning to opioids.

Chiropractors play a major role in managing back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions, however there are significant barriers for Canadians to access alternative care. Not all Canadians have the option of non-pharmacological alternatives like chiropractic care and this can make it more likely to turn to opioids.

“We are looking to build an understanding of how to better integrate care that is already available in communities across Canada”, adds Dantas. “Integrating chiropractors into interprofessional care teams has been shown to reduce the use of pharmacotherapies and improve overall health outcomes. This effort is even more important now because the new draft Canadian prescribing guidelines strongly discourage first use of opioids.”

About the Canadian Chiropractic Association

The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) is a national association representing 7,800 of Canada’s 9,000 licensed doctors of chiropractic. Approximately four and a half million Canadians use the services of a chiropractor each year. The CCA advocates on behalf of members and their patients to advance the quality and accessibility of chiropractic care in Canada and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare system. For more information on the CCA or for a referral to a doctor of chiropractic, please visit

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