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38 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 1 9 education PATHOLOGY PERSPECTIVES Massage Therapy and the Opioid Crisis Some Open Doors—Are We Ready to Go Through? By Ruth Werner strategies being considered and implemented to try to reverse some of the dangerous trends of recent years. In this setting, it is not possible to provide a comprehensive overview of this complicated and emotionally fraught topic. Rather, I will focus on certain aspects that seem most relevant for massage therapists, with an emphasis on where our work fits and the opportunities that currently exist for our profession to be helpful. ADDICTION, A.K.A. SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER The term addiction is complicated. Does it apply to legal substances as well as illegal ones? Is there a difference between prescription drugs and "street" drugs? What about non-drugs: can a person become addicted to caffeine or sugar? If yes, does this follow the same rules as an addiction to oxycodone, and can it be discussed in the same way? For the purposes of this article, we will refer to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) definitions regarding addiction and related topics. Interestingly, It is seldom helpful to overstate a problem. Incendiary language about challenges does not often lead to workable solutions. But the current threat we face regarding deadly consequences of the use, misuse, and addiction to opioids merits a certain level of anxiety. After all, more people died from drug overdoses in 2017 than by gun violence or car accidents. Thus, the term opioid crisis is appropriately alarmist. Here, we will look at the history of opioid use in this country. We will consider current terminology about the topic of addiction, and we will review some of the

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