Why Horses Matter- Combating Opioid Addiction







Back when then candidate Trump was campaigning, he made a promise to the great state of New Hampshire. He promised he would help them in their battle against opioid addiction.

Although New Hampshire went Blue during the election, we hope now President Trump will make good on his promise. Meanwhile, well beyond the idyllic state of NH, there are groups like Stand InBalance, here on the West Coast, who along with their Equine therapists offer a nonconventional treatment approach to substance abuse and addiction.

But first we need to look at the opioid epidemic and understand how we got here. Oxycodone was broadly marketed as the drug of choice for chronic pain suffers. Some would argue it hasn’t been successful in pain management at all, but instead has proven to be highly addictive. So much so, that those prescribing it were asked to scale back enormously by insurance companies and health agencies. When the legal prescriptions stopped or were seriously cut back,  some of those addicted to Oxy turned to heroin. So when you see photos of parents strung out in their vehicles, on the side of the highway, with kids strapped in car seats or a mother collapsing in a store while her two year old tries desperately to wake her, this is the opioid crisis in real time. Big Pharma to date has made an estimated 16 billion dollars since Oxy was introduced as the drug of choice for chronic pain. The death toll for opioid overdoses in 2015 has risen to 55,000, almost double from the previous year. For 2016, the numbers are expected to rise yet again. While our current President has already met with Big Pharma CEOs,  we hope he negotiates for pharmaceutical companies to invest in rehab facilities and keep the cost of such life saving drugs as Naloxone, which is administered in overdoses, down! Part of rehabbing those suffering with addiction is offering long-term therapy and follow-up. We are all wired differently and require different treatment lengths as well as therapies.

Stand InBalance is one of the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Programs fighting opioid addiction by treating patients that normally don’t respond to conventional approaches. This group has had success in providing follow-up treatment for substance abuse and addiction through their qualified human staff and equine counterparts.  Horses as therapists, to put it simply, cut right to the chase. According to one patient, “This therapy works because horses don’t judge, they don’t scheme, they are not duplicitous, they deal in the here and now and demand you be present with them.” Identifying how you feel and what’s going on with you is a large part of this kind of therapy. “Horses cause you be less preoccupied with yourself and tend to make people turn outward instead of isolating themselves.” But this kind of therapy takes commitment and is no quick fix for changing behavior and/or habits.

For more info contact Stand InBalance directly to see if this kind of therapy is right for you or someone you care about. [www.standinbalance.com or 818.714.1740]


Author: Alice

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