In fight against opioid crisis, Governor’s Task Force endorses ear acupuncture

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Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist practices her skills during a training in Manchester. Photo by Eric Zulaski

Last week, Governor Sununu’s Recovery Task Force showed unanimous support to expand Ear Acupuncture services in New Hampshire. As one of seven task forces that form the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs, the Recovery Task Force will present their recommendation to the Commission next month.

Meeting minutes from Friday, March 8 state that a motion was made by Kristine Paquette to recommend to the Governor’s Commission the following:

“Support the expansion of ear acupuncture services that follow the NADA protocol or equivalent training throughout New Hampshire to Peer Recovery Coaches and Peer Recovery organizations.”

The task force’s recommendation came after a February presentation by members of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA).

“Since the 1970s, ear acupuncture has proven to be an effective adjunct treatment for early and long term recovery,” says Laura Cooley, trainer of the NADA protocol. “With the new state law that allows peer counselors and recovery coaches to practice ear acupuncture, we hope to see the practice widely adopted so we can be better equipped to serve the needs of people in recovery.”

Keith Howard, Task Force chair and Executive Director of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, stated in a previous meeting, “I have expressed skepticism. But from what I’ve seen it does no harm and it seems to do some good.  I talk to people who have experienced the treatment. Eighty-percent of the people I talk to [about ear acupuncture] report a positive experience after treatment. Twenty percent feel no change whatsoever.  No one has mentioned to me a negative experience from receiving ear acupuncture.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes ear acupuncture for the treatment of addictions. SAMSHA is a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services.