Ozarks Tonight: Preventing opioid addiction with natural treatments

Ozarks Tonight

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — In October of this year, 20 people overdosed and two people died within a 48-hour period in the City of Springfield.

Police say those individuals may have used a bad batch of drugs. First responders told us in a 24-hour period they had the same number of calls for an overdose they usually see in a month. Community leaders, first responders, and the mayor have since come together to figure out a way to fight OPIOID addiction.

One local doctor says he’s doing his part in helping with natural alternatives to pain relief.

Studies have shown that prescription pain relievers may increase the risk of someone developing an addiction and that’s why Dr. Gary Meek says there are other ways before prescription drugs.

Dr. Meek, with Meek Chiropractic, will soon be opening a new clinic, called 180 Health, where he hopes to turn people’s health 180 – going the opposite direction from unhealthy to healthy.

It will be a natural, integrative medicine clinic with natural approaches, where doctors will not be prescribing drugs.

Treatments will include physical therapy, exercise, plasma rich protein injections – that could help patients with arthritis, for example.

Dr. Meek says one in four individuals who have been prescribed an opioid end up struggling with opioid addiction in the future. After that prescription runs out, they are likely to try to find something on the streets, Dr. Meek said.

“A lot of people move to Fentanyl and don’t realize they’re moving to Fentanyl because that’s what drug dealers are doing with it,” he said.  

Dr. Meek says the drug is so dangerous that a kilo of Fentanyl could kill every person in Texas.

 He says about two salt grains of Fentanyl that could kill a non-user, but five salt grains will kill a user.

“it doesn’t take very much if they mix the batch up wrong to create a big problem,” Dr. Meek said.

He says he believes a big part of fixing the opioid epidemic in the area and in the country is prevention.

“You have to prevent it. You have to be doing everything you can to keep people that have never been on options to keep them from getting on an opioid,” Dr. Meek said.  “There’s no one answer fits all, but most people can eat their pain non-drug approaches.”

And he says the work starts from the inside out, too, changing diet and exercise habits to help the body get stronger and healthier.

“You have to look at the whole body because the Standard America diet is poor,” Dr. Meek said.  “We try to get people on a whole food diet. There are several things you have to do, you have to get good exercise, you have to get good food, and if you don’t take care of those things and don’t take care of your stress, you are likely to be sick and not feel good,” he said. 

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