The dominant origin story of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) – known for their certified providers of the 5-point ear acupuncture protocol – begins with the association’s formation in 1985. It is a story featuring a remarkable white male medical doctor who was a breakthrough clinician in recognizing the value of group delivered services. Yet the development of the acupuncture protocol itself has an earlier, also powerful story. These origins are traced to a community health uprising in the South Bronx of New York in 1970. The action was led by the Black Panthers and the Nuyorican activist group, the Young Lords. Now the murder of George Floyd and a new documentary earlier activism, Dope is Death, have dovetailed to produce a rich re-examination among NADA leaders. One Puerto Rican practitioner trained by a one of the earliest leaders suggests that what is under way is a call to “mend our history.”
In 2015, the legislature in the state of Wyoming made a significant investment in the idea that its people and communities could benefit if the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) 5-point ear acupuncture protocol was put in the hands of the people. They created a law that allowed any adult U.S. citizen with an interest, who took and completed the appropriate NADA training, to provide the services. And unlike other states that might limit services to a few conditions or locations, this piece of Wild West legislation allowed the practice for stress relief, for pain, for loneliness, grief and whatever else may be tearing at one’s vital force, at fire stations or churches, community centers or malls, and whereever else “ADSes” – as they call themselves – might gather one of more interested recipients. The experiment is most under way in Laramie, Wyoming, population 30,000. Can the Laramie experience be a healing tool for the nation?