Auricular acupuncture, or "acudetox," is promoted by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, which claims there is
"strong evidence for the effect of the NADA protocol in improving patient outcomes [in addiction treatment] in terms of program retention, reductions in cravings, anxiety, sleep disturbance and need for pharmaceuticals."
Actually, there's not. This conclusion is based on cherry-picked studies. In fact, studies of auricular acupuncture
Of course, there is no reason to suspect auricular acupuncture would be effective for anything, substance abuse included. French neurologist
Yet, during the 2017 state legislative sessions, bills were introduced in two states buying into the fantasy that auricular acupuncture is an effective therapy. In Maine,
Results are to be reported after two years, but there is no definition of just what might be considered a success, other than cost savings. Of course, this means the program could have zero effectiveness in treating addiction, but as long as it saves money, it will have met its goal, even if none of the substance abusers get off drugs.
"Given the horrific price being paid by Maine families as the opioid crisis continues, are we not compelled to embrace every modality that can offer a solution?"
Perhaps, but NADA doesn't "offer a solution." One acupuncturist, who works at a VA acupuncture program, testified in favor of the bill as well, but
One the other hand, here's what the head of the
"Acupuncture is considered an alternative treatment for substance use disorders. It has been used in conjunction with other evidence-based treatments but not as a stand-alone treatment. A review of literature from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) does not recognize acupuncture as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of alcohol abuse disorders, substance abuse disorders and co-occurring disorders."
The committee considering the bill was divided on whether the bill should pass. Unfortunately, it passed in the House and now appears it will pass in the Senate. Should that happen, the Governor should veto it, as he did a similar bill last year.
In West Virginia, which has
Laws permitting the use of auricular acupuncture for substance abuse are yet another unfortunate example of