POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho is facing a prescription opioid crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one out of four people who receive prescription opioids struggle with addiction.
Darin Jernigan, the director of the physical therapist assistant program at Idaho State University concurred with the CDC and said the crisis is continuing to grow.
"259 Million prescriptions for opioids in 2012. We can only imagine exponentially how many more prescriptions that means today in 2017," said Jernigan.
Students in the physical therapist assistant program at ISU want to help end this epidemic by encouraging people in pain to seek out alternatives to pain management. They said an effective way to manage pain is to go to a physical therapist.
"So physical therapy can actually take care of the problem instead of opioids masking the problem," said Krishaun Turner, a physical therapist assistant student at ISU.
Businesses in the area are supporting the student's mission by donating to ISU's physical therapist assistant club. The money collected will go toward helping students pass their licensure exam and continue to spread awareness about effective pain management alternatives through physical therapy. One way students are doing this, is by promoting the American Physical Therapy Association's hashtag #ChoosePT.
According to the "Choose PT" campaign, physical therapy treats pain through movement and in some cases can be an alternative to surgery.
"Physical therapy allows your body to move in natural ways and as your body moves it will create natural endorphins which will do the same effect as opioids have and it will actually manage that pain in the long run and then your body becomes stronger and able to maintain its strength and then that can prevent further injuries and pain into the future," commented physical therapist assistant student Camille Dialogue.
If you are interested in buying a #ChoosePT T-shirt from the ISU physical therapist assistant club, contact Camille Dialogue 208-914-8903 or Shayla Bitter at 208-390-2560.