SB471-Drugs for New Mexico Chiropractors?

Do you think that Chiropractors, with their limited education, should be able to prescribe drugs?

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The following is from the current president of the International Chiropractic Association.  If you feel as I do that this bill should be defeated, please help us by making some phone calls.

On Friday, February 8, 2013 New Mexico Senate Bill 471 (NM SB 471 – Click Here For Text of Bill) was introduced by New Mexico State Senator Cisco McSorley. The bill is a follow-up effort to the failed HB 127 from the previous legislative session in New Mexico that sought to extend prescription rights to chiropractors in New Mexico. Unfortunately, the drug proponents in New Mexico have not only returned with another bill they have increased the breadth of the bill to convert chiropractic to chiropractic medicine and to potentially provide chiropractors with prescription rights including Schedule III to Schedule V drugs and to provide for surgical authority as well.

Please carefully consider the impact of the following provisions of this ill-conceived legislation pending in New Mexico – Note underlined words are being added to the existing law and the deleted words are being removed:

  • “…the prescribing and administering of all natural agents … the selling of herbs herbal medicine, nutritional supplements medicine and homeopathic remedies medicine; the administering of a drug by injection… any necessary diagnostic procedure excluding invasive procedures.”
    • Implications: Chiropractors in New Mexico could perform spinal taps, could aspirate a joint, could perform needle EMGs, etc.
  • “Except as provided by the board by rule and regulation. Itchiropractic medicine” shall exclude operative surgery and the prescription or use of controlled or dangerous drugs; and the practice of acupuncture substances, except where permitted by statute or rule;
    • Implications: The New Mexico Board of Chiropractic Examiners could adopt rules to provide for surgical responsibilities for chiropractors and the prescription of the vast majority of pharmaceutical products.
  • “It is the purpose of the Chiropractic Physician Practice Act… the right to practice chiropractic medicine as taught and practiced in standard accredited colleges of chiropractic … by use of any methods provided in the Chiropractic Physician Practice Act, as provided in rules and regulations established and monitored by the board but excluding operative surgery and prescription or use of controlled or dangerous drugs as provided in rules and regulations established and monitored by the board.
    • Implications: A chiropractor can use any method–pharmaceutical or surgical approved by the Board.
  • “…chiropractic physician with a prescription certificate may prescribe, administer and dispense legend drugs or controlled substances included in Schedules III through V of the Controlled Substances Act.
    • Implications: Schedule III drugs include: stimulants, narcotics, depressants, steroids and hallucinogens, including hydrocodone, anabolic steroids, barbiturates, etc.
  • “The board may refuse to issue or may suspend or revoke any license …upon the grounds that the licensee or applicant …(a) procuring, aiding or abetting a criminal abortion;”
    • Implications: Participating in a non-criminal abortion could be acceptable under Board rules providing for the same

The arguments offered in the previous legislation in favor of injectable products were expressed as being related to nutritional supplementation and providing the ability to remove patients from drugs. The profession is now faced not only with the advent of prescription rights for dangerous controlled substances but also the potential for surgical procedures to become a part of the practice of chiropractic.

Status of the Legislation:

The bill has been introduced with a single sponsor into the New Mexico Senate. It has been assigned to the Public Affairs Committee and the Judiciary Committee of the Senate. The bill will in all likelihood be considered in that order – first by the Public Affairs Committee and, if passed, by the Judiciary Committee. There is no companion bill in the New Mexico House, although the bill submission deadline is February 14, 2013.

This bill could be considered by the Public Affairs Committee as early as Saturday, February 16, 2013.

Your Immediate Action is Required — to Help Kill this Bill in the First Committee:

Telephone calls requesting opposition to SB 471 to the offices of members of the New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee are essential.

— If you are from New Mexico call every member of the Senate Public Affairs Committee and make sure they know you are a New Mexico voter.

— If you are not from New Mexico be honest if asked if you are a New Mexico voter and convey the danger that this precedent represents for the public across the country

Talking Points for Opposition – If passed this bill would:

  • Expose the public to risk with respect to drug use prescribed/administered by undertrained providers.
  • Allow for procedures for which that there is no commensurate training in professional education with the permitted increased scope of practice.
  • Confuse to the public with use of the term “chiropractic medicine” as it relates to the expected scope and of care from a chiropractor.
  • Serve only to add to the drug overuse epidemic in New Mexico.

New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee:

SenatorsSenator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Chair (D)

Senator Bill B. O’Neill, Vice Chair (D)

Senator Jacob R. Candelaria, Member (D)

Senator Ron Griggs, Member (R)*

Senator Daniel A. Ivey-Soto, Member (D)

Senator Timothy M. Keller, Member (D)

Senator Gay G. Kernan, Member (R)

Senator C. W. Brandt, Ranking Member (R)


*(Senator Griggs serves on the Judiciary Committee as well)

Capitol Office505-986-4482








District Office505-243-1509







Not Available

This situation demands your immediate response and action — don’t delay and don’t leave it up to someone else to address this critical matter affecting the future of the chiropractic profession. Please call.


Gary L. Walsemann, DC, FICA
ICA President

9 thoughts on “SB471-Drugs for New Mexico Chiropractors?”

  1. I think this would be a stupid mistake! Chiropractors don’t deal in drugs, they deal with
    helping your body all natural!!!! Please don’t put this kind of pressure on them!!!

  2. Gary, I understand your position. It is true that at our current level of training prescriptive authority would endanger the public. However, with the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine at an astounding 783,936 per year how much worse could it get? (
    Wouldn’t you rather have some of the medicine in the hands of progressive wellness based professionals instead of working from the illness model which identifies that if a client pays a $100 co-pay then they, “had better get some kind of something for it”. According to Dr. Null it is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. (By contrast, the number of deaths attributable to heart disease in 2001 was 699,697, while the number of deaths attributable to cancer was 553,251.5).
    I’d like the option of a more conservative approach to medicine with a limited prescriptive authority. That will at least “bring us into the game” of healthcare so to speak. Right now we’re not even sitting at the table. And if you don’t believe me try to offer your opinion or co-treat a client of your that is currently in a hospital and see who will listen. Obamacare doesn’t even include the chiropractic profession as of yet. Guess what? Physical therapy has been approved. And without some kind of advancement, you’re looking at the eventuality of chiropractic care not even being reimbursed by any insurance company. Do you think there will even be a chiropractor in 50 years since the PTs are picked up by Obamacare and are manipulating? My colleagues who have not chosen to fight FOR chiropractic have now become FNP’s since there is currently no path to prescriptive authority with the DC. They are still chiros, but now have a seat at the table and will continue to treat chiropractically but with their FNP degree as Obamacare phases out the DC reimbursement. All advanced degrees have hopefully allowed for an additional course of minimal training (like the FNP’s get), as well as, testing qualification prior to scope expansion. And if you’re against any type of expansion we can get then I completely disagree with your philosophy. In TX the TMA is trying to keep the DC from even being able to provide a diagnosis and you’re trying to quell a potential expansion in NM? Take my advice, do not try to stop the expansion of anything when it comes to the DC. They are very well trained and underutilized in the medical field. With more training in specific areas they could become even greater. If you personally don’t want to prescribe then don’t. But if you’re the president of the ICA and are willing to stagnate the profession because of some notion that chiropractic can help a diabetic person, but they’ll still need insulin and we shouldn’t be the ones who are able to provide it. Then I think you should reconsider what you’re actually fighting for and who you’re supporting. The AMA wants to kill this bill because it keeps the DC from having any authority. You want to kill the bill because you’re afraid of public safety. Guess what? It ends up being the same. And they probably haven’t even hired you to work for them. You are fighting their fight for them for free. I don’t see you fighting against the current establishment who is killing 2 mill a year which is apparently in accordance to their “standard of care”. You’re fighting against your own. This is just sad and will continue to leave us out. I guess you haven’t had a friend or family member have a serious illness like cancer and wish you had the option to provide better care for them yourself, but didn’t have the scope that would allow you to get additional training so you could be more hands on. What do you think medical residency is?
    Stick with the subluxation corrections. Apparently I’m going to have to get an additional certification, so that I can not only correct biomechanical imbalances, but chemical imbalances as well – since authority figures like you seem to know what’s best for everyone else and are stepping in the way of our progress. I for one would love for there to be a new definition of a “Standard of chiropractic medical care” which would include not prescribing unnecessary antibiotics or treatments, because for us it’s not standard to do those things.

  3. Well said Jeff King…I agree 100% and you made some very strong points. For those who want to focus strictly on having a cash practice, correcting subluxations, and telling their patients that correcting their subluxations is the cure for everything under the sun, then so be it. But they should not stand in the way of the advanced education and scope of practice of those who wish to do so, and be able to offer their patients more when they need it. Why is it that in the Chiropractic profession, certain DC’s are legally able to tell their patients that adjusting their Atlas will remove nerve interference , and the body will heal itself no matter what the ailment might be? Yet certain groups like the ICA stands in the way of Chiropractors with extended education being able to prescribe certain medications like muscle relaxers, which are evidence based and scientifically proven to work for many people? Its no surprise that its the same group of Chiropractors that make outrageous claims to cure everything with an Atlas adjustment, that are against the advancement of those within the profession who seek evidence based treatment in the form of certain medications for their patients.

  4. Or… Jeff, perhaps we could preserve Chiropractic as what it was designed to be over 100 years ago. Chiropractic is the profession that I and so many others went to school for, not Chiropractic Medicine. The only viable and obvious solution is for you and others that want prescriptive rights to spend less time…400 hours vs the proposed 500, to become Nurse practitioners. Then you will have your more “natural” type of care available to your patients but will not need to drag the majority of the profession into the new “progressive” drug care.

  5. FloridaDC, You are welcome to make generalizations regarding Atlas only care. For those non DCs reading this, especially the Chiropractic patients, we are very clear that an Atlas adjustment or anything else we do in our office does not “cure” anything. All we do is release the interference that is not allowing their bodies to heal itself. Every Chiropractor, even the allopathic ones can not discredit that. We’ve all experienced miracles. That’s why we are Chiropractors.

    1. People have also experienced miracle recoveries from disease in the past when not receiving any form of treatment whatsoever. So with that being said, I have personally heard some Chiropractors telling patients with a certain injury, lets say a sprained ankle, that adjusting their atlas will remove nerve interference so their ankle can heal. Without doing a single orthopedic test, checking their ankle range of motion, palpating their ankle, or putting them through any manual therapy, modalities, range of motion, or strengthening or stability exercise for that ankle. Nerve interference is not the main problem in that example. That goes against any kind of logic which his backed by science and extensive research, and widely accepted by the scientific community. I think its better if patients are treated given that kind of protocol, and educated on what we are doing for them and why we are doing it (evidence based), rather than something that is a theory that a few miracles have been witnessed from. That is why there is a problem with credibility in our profession. It is not as some who are against expanded scope of practice would say, that obtaining the ability to prescribe is where the credibility problem lies.
      With that being said, I have no problem adjusting patients that come in with different conditions and discussing the nerve theory with them. I strongly feel though, that some doctors buy into that theory too much as the only viable option. So much more can be done for each patient, and thats why we have to evolve as a profession and accept science as well as philosophy and theory.

  6. The quality of my life has improved tremendously by the skilled, manipulative HANDS (only) of my chiropractors …. I wonder if any of the senators on this committee can say the same thing, are any of them chiropractors, or have any experiences or training which would qualify them to judge these matters??

    The science and the art of chiropractic is what these specialists are trained in, and I would hate to see any of them distracted by the regulatory and bureaucratic headaches of administering drugs … which are the same headaches that most other medical specialties suffer now and what keeps a lot of students from not wanting to enter the medical field … I would hate to see that happen in the chiropractic field.

    My father was a surgeon for 35 years and worked to become the chief surgeon of two of NJ’s largest hospitals in addition to having his own private practice …. he retired reluctantly at 70, but often said that he loved what he did so much that if it wasn’t for the added costs and hassles of HMO’s and the federal/state governments … that he would be happy working until the his last day on earth.

    How about looking at the BIGGER PICTURE …. New Mexico is one of about a dozen states where the number of welfare and disability recipients exceeds the number of working taxpayers … all of these states have a few things in common; mostly larger state governments, larger volumes of drug consumption and huge drug abuse problems.

    So if the bill passes …. drug companies get new markets …. and government grows even bigger because when new rules are put on the books, more money has to be allocated to enforce those new regulations … and that money come out of the taxpayers pockets, so if you don’t look at this from a chiropractic point of view … surely the costly, bureaucratic and social nightmare that this has the potential to turn into … would be enough for you to want to strike it down.


  7. I’m still licensed, but no longer practice, so I don’t have any financial interest in what I’m about to say. I’ll be brief.
    The opening statement, rather, question on this page is “Do you think that Chiropractors, with their limited education, should be able to prescribe drugs?” This is, in my opinion, a purposely misleading question. It’s a “do you beat your wife more than three times a week” question. The type of question a shyster lawyer would ask in court.
    That first statement immediatley turned me off to the rest of the discussion. I immediately could not trust ANYTHING written from that statement on. Again, in my opinion it was written for the sole purpose to deceive.
    You can’t answer a question like that. For chiropractors to prescribe they would need a lot of additional training, which they would get. Then, yes, I think chiropractors should prescribe.
    The ‘straights’ I know are ruining the profession. Most of the straights I know are a bunch of drug bashers and MD bashers. One question: How’s that drug bashing been working out for us? Not so well, now has it?
    The straights treat chiropractic as a cult, not a healthcare profession. They are no better than a garden variety bible banger. The ones who bang the bible the loudest have the most to hide. Just remember that.

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