Behind the Opioid Epidemic: The Real Cause + Natural Solutions

Behind the Opioid Epidemic: The Real Cause + Natural Solutions


Hello everyone. This is Dr. Bill Rawls with an opinion on
the opioid crisis. I think everybody’s aware that we’ve got
an opioid problem going on in the United States, Europe, and really worldwide. Opioids are the same as narcotics. On the street, that’s heroin. In the hospital, it’s morphine injections. In doctors’ offices, it’s drugs like Percocet,
an orally stable form of the narcotic that’s typically mixed with Tylenol or aspirin. These drugs are really excellent for acute
pain, for acute trauma, for use in the operating room and post-operative pain — in these
cases they’re really essential. But opioids are really terrible for chronic
pain, and that’s what they’re being used very widely for. Percocet prescriptions are very widespread
across the country in primary care offices. They have been for 30 years. They just don’t work for chronic pain. The problem is in the way that these drugs
work. Any time you have a drug that has an effect
like pain relief or anxiety relief, it’s typically hitting the receptors of some other
chemical messenger in the body. In this case, it’s endorphins. We all hear about endorphins. That’s what you get with a runner’s high. It’s what our body produces to keep us from
being a bundle of pain all the time. If we didn’t have endorphins, we wouldn’t
be able to get up out of the chair. We would hurt so badly. Endorphins just keep down that normal level
of pain with movement. Narcotics, morphine, heroin, all of these
drugs basically act the same way as endorphins in our body. If you take it acutely for several days to
a week, it’s okay. If you take opioids chronically, you start
suppressing endorphins more, and more, and more, and more. You lower the person’s pain threshold until
any amount of pain is excruciating. They really end up working against you if
you use them chronically, because you suppress the endorphins so much. That’s why they’re habituating: If you
suppress endorphins, and then you take the narcotic away, people go through withdrawal
symptoms and have terrible pain. It can be really disruptive to someone’s
entire system. There’s good evidence that for chronic pain,
for conditions like fibromyalgia, opioids in the long run make people’s pain worse. That really makes sense, because if you use
them on a regular chronic basis and suppress natural endorphins in the body, you need more,
and more, and more of these drugs to work. Of course, you can only take so much. When somebody becomes habituated to these
things, it’s a real problem. They not only have chronic pain, but then
they also have this habituation with the drug to deal with, and if they don’t get the
drug, they’re in really bad shape. It’s really widespread. We see it all across the country. And once people get going, once they are habituated,
they look for higher and higher doses, so they go to stronger and stronger drugs. There’s a higher and higher risk of overdose. These drugs can suppress respiration. When you start looking for solutions, you
have to ask the question, why do people want these drugs in the first place, especially
in such a high demand? It has to do with the fact that we have, in
addition to an opioid epidemic, we’ve got an inflammation epidemic in our country, and
worldwide for that matter. People are in inflamed. They hurt. The foods they’re eating, the way they go
about life, chronic stress, and all the daily things that come with modern living, cause
us to have more pain than average. We don’t like to hurt so we seek out solutions,
and the easiest solution is a narcotic. All it takes is one prescription for Percocet
to last a month, and somebody will be habituated for a lifetime. It’s really, really hard to get off these
drugs. It has become a monumental problem. When we come back around to addressing the
problem, the solution isn’t just taking drugs away from people and keeping doctors
from prescribing these drugs. The solution is recognizing that people are
in pain because of chronic inflammation. We have to change their diet; we have to address
stress and other factors that drive inflammation. Herbal therapy is really wonderful for that. And as far as looking for alternatives to
narcotics, CBD (cannabidiol from hemp) and possibly different forms of medical marijuana
are a much better solution because they’re much less addicting. In fact, CBD has no habituating tendencies
at all. It doesn’t cause respiratory depressions,
so you can’t die from it. It will not kill you. When we look towards solutions to this really
bad epidemic problem, we’ve got to do more than just talk to doctors about not prescribing
the drugs. We’ve got to, as a society, look at the
problem and say, “Yes, we have a bigger problem here that people are inflamed.” They’re in pain and we have to reduce the
inflammation and look for better solutions to the problem, rather than just the knee-jerk
response of writing prescriptions for narcotics.

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