The Veterans Administration is attempting to balance treating pain while preventing addiction because veterans are not immune to the opioid crisis.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 was enacted to combat the nationwide opioid epidemic, and the VA is trying to wean veterans off opioids, while treating pain with options other than just drugs.
There is evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy, commitment therapy, and acceptance can decrease pain and improve function. Swim or occupational therapy are also options. And holistic treatments like acupuncture may help ease physical pain as well.
Many wonder if medical marijuana could be another option to combat veteran pain, but as long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the VA will not prescribe it for patients.