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BlueCross Responds to Opioid Crisis by Removing Oxycontin and Adding Acupuncture

Updated: Mar 8, 2019


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As of January 1st, 2019, BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) of Tennessee has stopped covering prescriptions for Oxycontin. As an alternative, BCBS has replaced the tamper-resistant drug with the traditional Chinese practice of Acupuncture.


When data emerged showing a significant increase in newborns experiencing opioid withdrawal in 2010, BCBS of Tennessee then realized their funding was contributing to one of America’s worst modern crises. Oxycontin is one of the most sought out drugs on the street, and in 2016 Tennessee faced over 1,180 opioid-related deaths.


BCBS is now using acupuncture as an alternative to opiods. This traditional Chinese practice places small thin needles on key points throughout the body to relieve pain and treat a wide range of conditions.


Acupuncture works by balancing one's qi, or energy flow throughout the body. By pinpointing these meridians, acupuncture releases endorphins and increase blood circulation throughout the body.


Research by the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration has provided evidence for acupuncture that goes beyond the placebo effects and shows relevant effects for chronic pain. Not only does acupuncture relieve symptoms of pain, but treatment is also free from any harmful side effects.


Down from 2016, Tennessee has the third highest per-capita opioid prescription rate in the U.S. This newly implemented initiative by BCBS of Tennessee is a step in the right direction to help fight addiction.


If you are interested in learning more about acupuncture please call Infinity for Health today!