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  • Writer's pictureMarieke Pieterman, L.Ac.

Ear acupuncture -- a safer alternative for today’s opioid crisis

By Marieke A. Pieterman

The NADA Protocol

Back in the 1970s, the South Bronx was filled with neighborhoods riddled with drug addicts and gang members, and the city needed help.

The Black Panthers, the Young Lords and their supporters held numerous sit-ins and protests in an effort to force the administrators of Lincoln Hospital to set up an inpatient drug-treatment program. But they also had another demand: let the program be run by former addicts.

The program initially gave out methadone, despite the numerous complaints of side effects. (As an aside, opioid addiction is typically treated with buprenorphine or methadone, and can dramatically reduce the risk of death by overdose; yet it still kills more than 100 people each day.)

As time went on, the addicts continued to be frustrated and dissatisfied with the drug alternative and slowly opened the door to another alternative -- acupuncture. Almost 45 years ago now, Dr. Michael O. Smith, developed an auricular (ear) acupuncture protocol, called NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association), for the use of addiction (substance and/or behavior) and behavioral health fields.

Today in the US, more than 600 addiction-recovery programs are currently using the NADA acupuncture protocol. NADA is an adjunct therapy and should be combined with counseling, therapy, comprehensive in-patient treatment facility. This acupuncture point combination helps to relieve suffering during detoxification, prevent relapse and support recovery. These NADA acupuncture treatments become more effective as time passes.

Here at Holistic Heart Acupuncture, I was trained at the Cleveland Clinic as an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist (ADS). I would love to help you, or someone you love, struggling with this awful addiction, which is taking so many lives each year!

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