Exchange one pain for another; pain killers of the newest medical advances seem to serve the greatest purpose – to improve condition of life, in times of terminal illness, pain due to physical accidents, and any conditions causing physical discomfort. At what expense do we exchange these pains? Who is truly on the “receiving end” of this relief? And who’s filtering what we, the community, know about it.

Let’s first address what pain relief consists of: Prescription narcotics, also known as opioid pain relievers. Used for severe pain, not treatable by non-inflammatory and other minor painkillers. These medications work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, that block the pain response. Oxyacetylene being the most common of these medications, was created in 1916, in Germany, it was among many semi-synthetic opioids. They are made of Opium (lachryma papaveris), the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy. The poppy tears, are chemically processed to produce both prescription narcotics and heroin. That is in fact what all of the “legally prescribed pain medications” are, government approved and promoted heroin.


Narcotic pain killers are as heavily addictive as heroin is, only more readily available, socially acceptable, and in a lot of cases encouraged as a suitable “Band-Aid” solution for pain. Consecutive use from as little as few days to a week causes a physical dependency. This occurs because of normal adaptations to chronic exposure to the drug, leaving the necessary dose on a constant upwards climb. This being the beginning of a slippery slope to a deadly addiction. The physical withdrawal to an opioid dependency include: anxiety, sweating, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, body ache, cramping and even death. The effects on the body are extensive, and that’s only the body….. The mind and spirit are where the real pain lies. Addiction doesn’t discriminate on age, sex, race, social class, creed, religion, or lack of religion. No one is immune to its grip, it’s fierce in all its forms.


Somewhere along the lines, we have been made to believe from a young age that addiction is a moral deficiency, exercised by weak-minded people. That it’s a personal choice made by born criminals, it’s a very misunderstood illness, that comes with stereotypes and preconceived judgments that often we are unaware that we are making. Addiction is a medically proven disease. Genetic predisposition playing a key role and exposure of course tailing right behind it. Resources for recovery assistance and outreach are slim and awareness even lower. It’s one that comes with a personal cost to the addict greater than any amount of funding could begin to cover, a great deal of damage to themselves, relationships and life style in general is caused in even short lived active addictions. This can’t go without saying that we have made some incredible strides in the past decade, with opening safe injection sites, treatment centers and outreach centers in our communities across Canada, but as far as prescription drugs the numbers have been on the rise and quickly. Every day in North America 150 people die of a prescription narcotic overdose. Very few of the prescription narcotics on the street are coming from anything other than physicians that hand them out. The problem that lies here is that 80% of the prescription for narcotics are handed out by 20% of our physicians.


There was another “Band-Aid” solution brought to the table due to the evident epidemic of abuse in our medical prescription area. The numbers are mind blowing, its estimated 26.4 million and 36 million people worldwide abuse opiate painkillers. Yes, these are the same painkillers that a doctor would prescribe for a serious condition to help with the pain. With our accidental over dose numbers quadrupling since 1999. The methadone program was introduced, yet another legally prescribed narcotic, used primarily for treatment of addiction to heroin and prescription medications but also for chronic pain management. It is 90% stronger then heroin and even more seriously addictive. It lasts 24 hours and in the patients system, and is designed to help them remain clean off of opiates, and the goal is to eventually taper off methadone. A lot of people refer to it as liquid handcuffs, as many never get off of methadone. Designed by Hitler during the holocaust and now handed out as a tool to keep the suffering in line. These methadone clinics aren’t government run, but are personally owned, so every person on the program is a 7$ profit to the owner per injection, need we say more. Why would they want to help people get off prescription narcotics when they are pocketing the profits?

The pessimistic image projected of addicts is about to come full circle, our eyes are more likely to be turned blind to what we think deserves little sympathy – we hand out a medication (expensive and very profitable for pharmaceutical companies) that causes an increasingly debilitating illness. Living in active addiction, spending God knows a remarkable amount of money, and crucifying there emotional and mental stability and well-being, they in turn need treatment, whether that be methadone, rehabilitation, or alternative drugs, lower doses, and new drug brands to assist in withdrawal management. This triggers a life long struggle with substance abuse along with antidepressant, anti-anxiety/ anti-psychotic and other chemical imbalance medications, to assist in all of the imbalances induced by substance abuse which came initially from a prescription “pain killer”. Of course this leaves the pharmaceutical companies with large recurring profits and the initial patient that walked through the physicians door in a world they never imagined.

It’s big business for physicians and the pharmaceutical companies. The patients who came in for “pain relief” are commodities in a hard to break almost never ending cycle of pharmaceutical cocktails. So, if you are ever prescribed painkillers, make sure that you are aware of the possible dangers that you may be getting into. Addiction is a disease and once you are on that road,  it’s difficult to get off of it, but it can be done with lots of hard work and support from family, friends and loved ones.

3 thoughts on “Prescription Narcotics: Exchanging One Pain for Another

  1. As someone who is very interested in natural health and who has tried to eat a natural diet and use herbs and supplements in place of medication, BUT who has also dealt with major chronic pain for over 5 years, I have a hard time with your article. Once you have chronic pain, you would be willing to do almost anything to get some relief.

    I started taking fairly high doses of narcotic medication (as well as sleep medication) about 5 years ago and then about 12-18 months ago (maybe a bit longer) had even stronger pain meds added to my regimen for about a year. I did indeed have side effects, like serious constipation, major brain fog, no alertness, feeling drugged all the time, BUT I was also able to manage (go to work, exercise, shop, take care of my home and relationships etc.) better on the medication than off…all I could do when not on the medication was lay in bed because of the pain. I have tried many, many natural remedies (MSM, glucosamine, white willow bark, arnica, curcumin, DMSO, oils, lotions, potions and creams) with limited or no relief.

    Fast forward to today – because of my strong conviction and belief in natural health and because of wanting to clean up my body and my fear of dependency, I took (slowly weaned) myself off all medication except for one narcotic pill a day (I was taking 6-9/day previously). The only major “withdrawal” symptom I had/have is not being able to sleep as well as I did when I was so drugged up.

    Because of everything I have read, and because of articles like this (and because of the fear of the pain increasing), I was so sure I was/would be addicted for the rest of my life and that the withdrawal would be excruciating I put off coming off the medication for WAY TOO LONG! As I mentioned previously, in my experience, other than the lack of sleep, coming off the medication was wonderful! None of the side effects mentioned in this article. Best. Thing. Ever! Yes, I still have pain and still have to manage it, but I am functioning fine with very little pain medication compared to before.

    While I agree MANY, MANY people are being abused by the pharmaceutical system and are indeed addicted to pain medication, there are some who are truly dealing with enough physical pain to require some relief to live productive, responsible, contributing lives. These people do so with awareness and with the DESIRE to not live like that forever.

    This article seems to paint all narcotics takers (regular or temporary) with the brush of the addict – “if you take narcotics, you will become an addict and your life will thenceforth be unmanageable, now and forever more” is what your article seems to imply. I wonder if your writer/researcher has ever experienced major or chronic pain in their life, or seen the devastation that can have on someone close to them?

    What about the self-responsible person who, because of life circumstances, has to deal with the type of pain that would make most people pass out or cry in their cereal every morning but who wants to live as full and productive a life as possible, but can’t do so with so much pain? And for who natural remedies just don’t work as well as they would like? But who also has the awareness that pain killers cannot be a permanent solution and can, in some instances cause more problems than good and can be addictive. Are they also “commodities in a hard to break almost never ending cycle of pharmaceutical cocktails” as mentioned in your article? Are they now going to be looked down upon by their family and friends as addicts? Where is the compassion for those who are truly trying their best?

    Am I pro-pharma? No, I actually feel as much disdain for that industry as the writer of this article seems to feel, but I also understand the other side – because I’ve been there.

    Everyone who is on narcotics knows they are addictive, whether they want to admit it or not. Why not write an article on natural alternatives to painkillers that ACTUALLY WORK? Or how we can be more compassionate to those who are dealing with so much pain?

    I found this article judgmental and one sided.

  2. Interesting comment from the person above. I notice that all the natural remedies you tried were lotions, potions and pills. Some of the best mind-body techniques for pain relief are EFT tapping which is based on acupressure, Therapeutic Touch, and acupuncture. Chronic pain is often associated with undischarged physical or emotional trauma, which puts the brain into a repetitive loop of re-creating symptoms. Once that is dealt with, the pain goes. You can read Dr. Robert Scaer for more info.

  3. Something completely different for pain management is PEMF therapy.
    Has been around for a long time, used extensively in Eastern Europe.
    Of course a lot of the information regarding the benefits has more or less suppressed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s