90% of the narcotics produced worldwide are consumed in the United States. Some of this use is necessary, some of it is abuse, and a large portion is over-prescription. The over-prescription of narcotics has many negative long-term effects that most doctors are unaware of. In fact, the over-prescription of narcotics is so devastating that it will likely lead to a future pain epidemic.
Narcotic pain killers does of course have a place in modern medicine, such as in the treatment of cancer patients, and other patients dealing with excruciating pain. One situation of concern, however, is when well-meaning doctors prescribe narcotics like methadone, Suboxone, and Subutex in alarming quantities to detoxify their patients off of other opioid narcotics like heroin. These doctors are following the method of harm reduction. They believe they are saving lives by switching the patients off dangerous drugs such as heroin and putting them on other narcotics. Fully aware the methadone, Suboxone, and Subutex are also narcotics, they think it is the only option and that the benefits of getting patients off heroin outweigh the costs of being on these narcotic medications. However, they are unaware of the long term damage this addiction treatment method will cause to patients’ neurotransmitter systems and all the future implications of that damage.
By using these medications for extended periods of time, they are suppressing (possibly even eliminating) the body’s natural ability to cope with pain. The question then becomes, when patients’ own pain-fighting neurotransmitters are left ineffective, and their tolerance is built up to all the narcotic medicines out there, what is left? The future looks pretty bleak. That is why it is vital for doctors to start looking in their armamentarium of medication to find new ways to safely detoxify patients off of narcotics in a manner that won’t permanently destroy the body’s natural defense against pain. A few of these new methods are described in Dr. Von Stieff’s book, Brain in Balance, and more will be revealed in his up-and-coming book.