Dr. Gary Meek, CEO of Meek Chiropractic, Takes on The Opioid Epidemic and Overuse of Prescription Medications
Inadequate pain management coupled with the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has taken a severe toll on the lives of tens of thousands of people in the United States. Dr. Gary Meek is bringing the fight to combat this epidemic in the Springfield area by opening Springfield’s first Natural Medical Clinic, 180 Health.
Dr. Meek has been caring for the Springfield Community for over 20 years. This is one of the biggest things in his life he will be taking on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as many as 1 in 4 patients who received prescription opioids for long term non cancer pain in primary care settings struggle with addiction. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in the ER for misusing prescriptions and opioids.
In 2020, Dr Gary Meek will be opening 180 Health clinic, a 5,000 sq ft Medical Clinic which will include natural alternatives to pain relief. The new clinic will be next to Meek Chiropractic’s current 10,000sq ft office. Some staff in this new clinic will have medical titles, but everyone will have the same focus on helping the patients naturally. No prescription medications. Patients will also receive the same patient-centered care currently offered at Meek Chiropractic. Not a one size fits all approach to relieving their pain. Services will include Regenerative Therapy (PRP), Trigger Point Injections, Nutrition, IV Therapy, Functional Medicine, Hormone Therapy, Medical Massage, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation and Functional Fitness.
Just recently, the Springfield area has seen a spike in overdoses and even deaths. Dr. Meek knows, this problem is not improving, it is only getting worse. It is starting to hit families close to home. As a chiropractor, it is his mission to change the course of this issue. “You cannot stop this epidemic with one solution. My focus is stopping it at the source. I like to say, stop the leak at the spigot. If you can’t do that, you cannot recede the waters of the flood.” Says Dr. Meek. “We have to teach patients there is another solution to resolving their pain without medications and surgery. I have helped over 20,000 people over the last 20 years reduce their pain, heal their injury, prevent them from needing surgery, and even helped them reduce or stop pain medications.”
In 2014 alone, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving the drugs. That same year, more than 2 million people abused or were dependent on opioids. Beyond the risk of addiction and overdose, prescription drugs that numb pain may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal (muscle and joint pain) condition is less severe than it is or that it is healed. This misunderstanding can lead to overexertion and a delay in the healing process or even permanent injury. Which of course, leads to more, stronger, pain medications being prescribed.
The Journal of the American Medical Association, in a 2013 patient page on low-back pain, suggested patients consider chiropractic treatment before resorting to surgery. In 2015, the Joint Commission, the organization that accredits more than 20,000 health care systems in the U.S. (including major hospitals) recognized the value of non-drug approaches by adding chiropractic to its pain management standard. Most recently, in March, 2016, the CDC in response to the opioid epidemic, released guidelines for prescribing opioids that also promote non-pharmacologic alternatives for the treatment of chronic pain.
Congress authorized the VA to begin providing chiropractic services in 1999. Since late 2004, chiropractic services have been included as part of the standard of Medical Benefits Package available to all enrolled Veterans. Just recently, the VA has expanded benefits to family of Veterans. The local VA Clinic in Springfield refers many Veterans to Meek Chiropractic providers to provide chiropractic and other non-evasive services to treat Veterans without prescriptions.