AMTA recently participated in the all-day seminar, Voices for Non-Opioid Choices: Preventing Opioid Addiction in America to highlight the role of massage therapy and other integrative services in helping address the opioid crisis. This meeting also focused on the need to work together to push for swifter implementation of the Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act, which intends to increase patient and provider access to non-opioid approaches to pain management for those enrolled in Medicare, and help stem the opioid epidemic across the nation.
We were pleased to be a part of this important event, which included Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) as the top Senate supporter of NOPAIN, congressional staff, as well as representatives from FDA, NIH, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). In addition, individual family advocates and local organizations who have been personally impacted by the opioid epidemic were present.
Over the last four years, AMTA has joined the broad-based Voices for Non-Opioid Choices coalition to garner support for the NOPAIN Act, which was finally passed by Congress in December 2022. During this time, over 50,000 massage therapists served as grassroots advocates sending letters to their respective members of the House and Senate, urging them to support and pass the NOPAIN legislation.
While AMTA was thrilled to see the NOPAIN Act signed into law, the final verbiage as enacted postpones implementation of NOPAIN for several years. In light of the ongoing – and escalating – issue of opioid drug abuse, we want to see the entire NOPAIN Act implemented as soon as possible.
Recent statistics show that approximately 200 people a day died from opioid overdoses in 2021. And, a wealth of research indicates that massage therapy is an effective solution for many pain conditions and can help reduce the reliance on opioids.
We are grateful for the active support of our massage therapy community in rallying behind the NOPAIN Act. We will continue to push for implementation of this bill, while also focusing on other ways to educate Congress and the agencies on the many benefits of massage therapy and the important role it plays in our health care system.