Just Say No to Drugs in Chiropractic

There has been a lot of talk about expanding our scope to include prescriptive “rights.” Chiropractors cannot prescribe medications in most states and I personally hope it stays that way.

Most advocates of prescriptive rights (PR) claim it will help keep chiropractic relevant, help patients, and help struggling doctors build bigger practices.  Let’s dissect each point below.


Chiropractic does not need to add the main treatment choice of allopaths to be relevant.  Our principles and our different outlook on health is the opposite of allopaths, and are precisely what keeps us relevant.  If anything we need to get back to our core tenets to be relevant.

Modern medicine is failing society miserably.  Health care costs are skyrocketing.  The quality of life is declining.  We are an overmedicated unhealthy society and I think the pendulum of public perception of what health care really is, is about to swing in our favor.

No, we do not need prescriptive “rights” to be relevant.  There are already enough other providers to dispense medications.  What we need is to become better communicators about chiropractic and it’s benefits for patients.  Market to them and their needs and their desires.  They can get their drugs if they need them a million other places.  They will come to us for true healthcare.

Helping Patients

I am very much subluxation based.  I am not a straight but more of a conservative mixer.  So I get that sometimes patients need medications or other imaging modalities and I gladly refer patients out for advanced imaging and medication co-management.  And that’s exactly how it should be.  We refer out when needed to those who can offer those services.  There are more than enough places to get medications now.  Maybe if you live in the middle of nowhere this would be a valid argument.  With today’s technology, even this argument holds no water.

Do you really think patients need more medications?  Our country already consumes 80% of the world’s opiate pain medications despite having just 4.4% of its population.  50 people die each day in our country from opioid overdose.  Nearly 100,000 people are hospitalized each year for GI-related adverse events from NSAID use.  16,500 of those people die each year.

Yet some “DC’s” think being able to provide their patients these substances will help them?  It defies common sense.

It Will Help Struggling DC’s

Adding more paperwork, more administrative hassles, and the potential for a dramatic increase in patient complaints due to adverse events will help the struggling DC succeed?  How’s that going work out?

What struggling DC’s need to have to succeed more is certainty about what we do.  They can get that from a lot of different places.  My favorite source for inspiration and certainty is the team over at chirosushi.com 

The other thing that will help DC’s more than PR is becoming better at business.  There are more great podcasts, seminars, and groups to help with this aspect of practice than ever before.  My specialty is Facebook Advertising.

It’s Not Hurting You

This is the other idea I get thrown at me.  “Why is it hurting you if other DC’s choose PR?  Nobody is forcing you to prescribe drugs.”  Although DC’s with PR may not affect me directly I do believe it is bad for the profession and the patietns we serve.  PR has never been apart of chiropractic and that is the way it should stay.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.