Photo of PT students showing off their #choosePT shirts.Terryn Hardy

Staff Writer

In light of the opioid epidemic in the United States, some ISU students are trying to make a difference in the community. Students in the Physical Therapy Assisting program at ISU have brought the “choose PT campaign” to campus and the ISU community.

#choosePT is a campaign that the American Physical Therapist Association began this year to bring awareness to the country’s ongoing prescription opioid epidemic. It asks communities to consider physical therapy as an alternative to long term use of prescription drugs.

Camille Dialogue, the PTA Club Treasurer, said the campaign is very important to her, as she lost her uncle to a prescription opioid overdose in 2010.

“My goal is to help Pocatello community members prevent the onset of addiction through providing information about alternative long term pain treatment,” she said. “As a PTA student, I have had the privilege of witnessing individual’s pain decreased and even removed through physical therapy.”

Although Dialogue added that she is aware physical therapy is not always the answer, she said she would encourage people to look for any alternate option to long term opioid use.

“Those medications are necessary and helpful those first few weeks after surgery or immediately after an injury, but they will not fix what is causing the pain,” she said. “Physical therapists are here to help individuals’ bodies heal themselves so that those people don’t have to rely on prescription opioids for pain relief.”

“This campaign is a way to raise awareness in our community, to try and decrease those numbers, and prevent people from becoming addicted to a harmful substance,” said PTA club secretary Hailey Denkers.

“I want people to realize how amazing their bodies are,” she said. “[They] can heal themselves with help from educating ourselves how to do that.”

Krishaun Turner, vice-president of the club said she also believes there should be more knowledge about the benefits of physical therapy as a pain management tool.

“Physical therapy takes care of the problem that is causing the pain rather than masking the problem like the opioids do,” Turner said. “To me, #choosePT is to help people realise that opioids aren’t the only way to take care of pain. Physical therapy helps people to begin moving in the way that their body is meant to and that can help relieve the pain that they are experiencing along with preventing further injuries. We aren’t implying that opioids should never be used, but that there is a time and place for the use of them and they are being used way too often.”

To help participate in the #choosePT campaign, students should do their research on alternative pain solutions. They can also help the campaign spread by purchasing a #choosePT t-shirt from the Physical Therapy Assisting website through the College of Technology. The proceeds from the t-shirt sales go back into the #choosePT movement and also go towards helping PTA students pass their licensing exams.

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