Opioid Legislation CCA CMA Non-Pharmacological Treatments Pain

Dr. Phil Dieter DC - Governmental Affairs - California Chiropractic Association - AB 888 – Opioid And Non-Pharmacological Treatment

Since 1928, the California Chiropractic Association has worked to empower chiropractors and increase patient access to chiropractic services. Over the last few years the association has shifted its attention towards the growing opioid epidemic in America. As a profession well-suited to address pain related health care needs of patients, the Association has sought legislation that will increase patient access to chiropractic and other non-pharmacological health alternatives to opioids. 

In May of 2019, the California Chiropractic Association sponsored AB 888 (Low) - Opioid Prescriptions: Non-Pharmacological Treatments for Pain. This legislation will require informed consent of patients before receiving an opioid prescription. 

AB 888 does several things to ensure patients are well informed of their options before an opioid is prescribed:

  1. All prescribers will be mandated to obtain verbal and written informed consent acknowledging the risks of opioids.
  2. Providers must offer a referral to non-pharmacological treatment options (chiropractic, acupuncture, mental health, physical therapy, etc)
  3. Requires the state to consider including non-pharmacological care during the next update of the essential health benefit (Affordable Care Act)

This will not only help patients by encouraging integration but could directly impact your practice in a positive way of referrals when you consider the staggering number of prescriptions written per week in your area.

AB 888 passed the California State Assembly 68-0 in May of 2019, it is now in the Senate Business & Profession Committee, and has been postponed twice by the committee. The item is currently aggrandized for the committee on July 1, 2019, but it is unclear whether the committee with allow discussion on the item. That is why it is very important that all concerned citizens in California reach out to their local representatives and show support for this bill. 

The bill’s only opposition it seems is the California Medical Association (CMA), tasked with representing medical physicians in California. The CMA is fighting the legislation stating that current measures already exist that require doctors to “discuss new medications with their patients as well as the risks and side effects”. While these measures do exist, they have not prevented the current opioid epidemic growing across the country, and this legislation seeks to strengthen these measures to prevent more deaths from occurring. 

AB 888 needs our help! Here’s what you can do:

  • Please contact your assembly members and your state senators asking them to support AB 888.
  • Go to our website (www.calchiro.org) for more info.
  • Encourage non-members to join CalChiro (https://www.calchiro.org/apply-join-calchiro)
  • Get out of your office, meet your local representatives, and help them understand the health and fiscal impact that AB 888 will have on your  community.


We cannot do this alone. With your support and engagement, we will have an unprecedented positive impact for chiropractic in California. Our patients are counting on us! AB 888 is among many of its kind being introduced across the nation to help reduce opioid dependency and deaths. California is one of the last States to issue any substantial legislation in regards to curbing the opioid crisis. 

Phil Dieter

Chairman, Governmental Affairs Committee

California Chiropractic Association

To show support for AB888, use this link: http://cqrcengage.com/chirocongress/app/onestep-write-a-letter?2&engagementId=500694

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