LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Gundersen Tri-State ambulance in La Crosse is trying to cut down on the amount of opioids and other pain medications they're giving to patients.
By offering patients essential oils.
Not every emergency call, is a true emergency. Which means not every patient dealing with minor pain, needs narcotics.
But this new addition to Tri-State's ambulances, is supposed to give patients suffering from anxiety, nausea or other pain, the option to say no to drugs and yes to essential oils.
A few drops on a cotton ball taped to a patient's chest, is supposed to help them stay calm and might even prevent them from wanting drugs.
Even a non-emergency ride in an ambulance can often be a stressful experience.
"We put you on a cot, run you to the back of the ambulance, you go through the ambulance exhaust, you get put facing backwards in a moving vehicle, with foreign smells, plastic, bleach," said Tri-State medical director Chris Eberlein.
Eberlein is hoping the essential oils will create a better environment for healing, while also working to prevent drug addiction.
"Opiates aren't the answer for every pain that we have."
The oils are meant as another way to treat patients, but they won't be taking place of necessary treatment.
"We're not at all replacing traditional medicine with essential oils or complimentary medicine if you will," said Tri-State executive director Tom Tornstrom.
Gundersen Tri-State ambulance will have a total of six essential oils.
They have been using the oils for about one week.
The oils are not FDA approved but doctors are going by decades and longevity of care, saying people have been using essential oils for hundreds of years.
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