Discovering How to Artificially Produced Opioids Could Be a VERY Bad Thing

negative effects of artifical painkillers

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.

Published on Oct 29, 2015 | Personal Recovery Experiences

Synthetically Produced Opioids

A seemingly insane story started to sweep around the internet a couple of years ago. Scientists found a method to synthesize opioids from yeast cultures.

Think about that for one second – scientists in a lab had been able to artificially produce opioids. We’re not talking about scrapping opium poppies, taking the raw opium back to a lab, and producing painkillers.

No, we’re talking about a team in a lab, probably dressed in HAZMAT suits, cooking up completely synthetic opioids.

That’s a terrifying prospect when you really consider it.

After all, who knew if it was true? More importantly, who knew the positive and negative impacts this discovery might have on our culture at large. Then, an article was published by David DiSalvo. This article explores some of those positive and negative impacts. Below, we breakdown his ideas and provide our perspective on whether 100% artificial opioids are a blessing or a curse.

Benefits of Synthetic Opioids

Before getting into any doomsday prophecies, it’s important to look at some of the very real benefits that synthetically produced opioids may offer. DiSalvo makes this very clear in his article and I couldn’t agree more.

Artificially made opioids can lead to a whole host of positive effects, including things like:

  • Increased production of painkillers both inside and outside of the US
  • Unique additions to any given chemical which can potentially produce less addictive drugs
  • Painkillers would most likely become cheaper to produce which would enable them to be distributed to those who need them most, rather than those with good insurance

DiSalvo touches on these in his article. I’d like to add one of my own.

If creating opioids of all shapes and sizes starts to take place solely in labs, there’s a good chance this will lead to a decrease in “opium farms.” This, in turn, could lead to a decrease in the illegal production of morphine, heroin, and other potent chemicals.

There are a few ifs in that scenario. Still, it makes logical sense that increasing the production of opioids in labs will lead to decreased production in the Middle East.

Okay, those are the positives. Now let’s look at some of the potentially disastrous side effects of mass-producing artificial opioids in a lab.

Drawbacks of Synthetically Produced Opioids

The first thing DiSalvo makes clear is the connection between synthetically creating narcotics and the other synthetic drug explosion in recent years.

He writes, “Right now more than 160,000 labs in China are pumping out synthetic drugs for buyers across the globe” (Forbes).

Call them bath salts, flakka, gravel, or any of their other ridiculous names. The point is the same – when creating drugs in a lab, there’s the potential that someone can, and most likely will, start creating those same drugs for a different purpose.

negative effects of artifical painkillers

America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. That much is old news. Do we really need another source of painkillers for our population to consume? Do we really need to outsource that production (as it were) to illicit labs in foreign countries? Of course, those are worst-case scenarios. Still, they’re worth considering. After all, look at what happened to Tramadol in Egypt.

There’s another angle that DiSalvo doesn’t touch on that bears examining. I’m talking about the simple idea of supply and demand.

There’s likely always going to be a demand for painkillers and other opioids. If the supply increases – as artificial production is refined, it’s going to cost less and less to produce these pills – and demand remains steady, then the price of black-market opioids is going to drop. On the one hand, this is a good thing. After all, it takes money out of the pockets of drug dealers. On the other hand, though, this is horrible. Incredibly addictive and powerful chemicals could become available for pennies on the dollar.

That’s a scary thought!

So What?

That’s a good question reader! So what? Why does any of this matter? A small group of scientists were able to create thebaine and hydrocodone from yeast. That’s a far cry from any scenarios mentioned above, good or bad!

This stuff matters because it gives us the opportunity to be prepared! Remember when OxyContin first emerged in the late ‘90s? No one saw it coming and it started the painkiller epidemic – it fundamentally changed America.

We have the opportunity to avoid that if, and most likely when, synthetically produced opioids start to cause trouble.

What do you think? Let us know on social media!

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Cite This Article
Lighthouse Editorial Team. "Discovering How to Artificially Produced Opioids Could Be a VERY Bad Thing." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Oct 29, 2015, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/artificially-produced-opioids-could-be-a-very-bad-discovery/.

PRESS CTRL+C TO COPY

Related Articles

Recovering Stories: The Many Benefits of Getting Sober

Recovering Stories: The Many Benefits of Getting Sober

What Are The Benefits Of Getting Clean And Sober? Even if you gave me 100 notebooks and all the time in the world, I wouldn't be able to write the many ways my life has improved as a result of getting sober. I don't think anyone in recovery could capture the magnitude...

Is Drug Addiction Disease Real? Or Is Addiction a Choice

Is Drug Addiction Disease Real? Or Is Addiction a Choice

Addiction and addiction relapse is viewed by different people in different ways, with most of our society split into two different schools of thought. Some people believe in the drug addiction disease model, which argues that addiction is a brain condition. In...

Can Drug Addiction Recovery Without God Be Possible?

Can Drug Addiction Recovery Without God Be Possible?

The relationship between drug addiction and religion has been a complex one for decades. With most recovery centers focusing heavily on faith and belief, is it possible to succeed at drug addiction recovery without God? According to various studies by the Pew...

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This