Atlanta, GA (CBS46) A bill introduced in the Georgia General Assembly seeks to steer patients away from opioids and toward drugless, nonsurgical pain-relief methods.

Senate Bill 28, sponsored by three Democrats and two Republicans, essentially bans insurers from requiring higher out-of-pocket expenses for a visit to a chiropractor, physical therapist or occupational therapist than for a visit to a primary care physician.

The bill’s lead sponsor, State Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, said the idea is to remove a financial barrier of chiropractic care.

“We’re thinking about patient safety, patient health, and overall, what’s best for Georgia,” Jackson said.

Edward Fox, a 22-year-old digital marketing strategist from Savannah, joined Jackson and members of the Georgia Chiropractic Association Thursday during Chiropractic Day at the Capitol. About a year ago, Fox was injured in a car accident.

A doctor prescribed powerful opioids for his excruciating back pain.

“I didn’t like how I felt when I was on it,” Fox said. “It’s because I know that my body is not supposed to feel this way.”

He quickly realized how easy it would be to get addicted.

“When I took the opioids, I didn’t feel the pain, but if I didn’t take the opioids, I’m crying before I’d go to sleep,” he said. “I couldn’t fall asleep because my back pains were like out of this world.”

Fox said he decided to give chiropractic care a try, and he’s glad he did.

“Chiropractic care actually gave me a real solution to my pains instead of just giving me something to turn the pain off.”

“You know, I’ll be the first to tell you, I can’t help everyone,” said Fox’s chiropractor, Dr. Michael Vaughn.

But Vaughn believes if licensed chiropractors and physical therapists are given a fair shot by insurance companies, more patients would seek drugless pain-relief options first, perhaps putting a dent in the opioid crisis.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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