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Relief without the Side Effects

Florencia Giraudo, Staff Writer

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Scientists may have found a new painkiller that does not have any of the negative side effects that opioid drugs have. Scientists at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin viewed the effects of opioids on the nervous system, specifically on opioid receptors, to develop the new drug.

The researchers created a prototype of a morphine-like molecule that alleviates the pain in inflamed areas while not affecting healthy tissue. This demonstrates that the new drug, called NFEPP-prototype, can reduce pain while not having the negative side effects that drugs like opioids typically have, such as physical and psychological craving for the drug, nausea, stomach pain, cold sweats, and diarrhea.

So what are opioids? Opioids are a specific type of drug whose function is to relieve pain. They are commonly used after surgeries and different medical treatments and are usually available only by prescription from a doctor.

Opioids act on opioid receptors and areas of the brain involved with emotion in order to reduce pain sensation. So what is so wrong about these drugs if they only take the pain away? Well, opioids also activate the reward system, which is a group of neural structures that, when affected, cause a high. This makes opioids extremely addictive.

A teenager named Jason talked to Amanda Gardner, an author for WebMD.com, about his addiction to painkillers after being prescribed drugs for for his migraine headaches. He went so far that he stole prescription drugs from his mother, who has bone cancer.

Jason is not alone – more than 8.5 million Americans are addicted to painkillers, and more than 8% of high school seniors use painkillers for nonmedical reasons, states WebMD. Opioid medicines have been used and abused for more than 6,000 years, according to Drug-Addiction-Support.org.

This new drug offers a potential solution to the opioid addiction problem. It is not known when this new drug will be available to the public. The drug is still going under review and being experimented to see if it truly doesn’t have any negative side effects. I would suggest that after having any type of surgery or inflammation and being prescribed opioids, ask your doctor if you are able to consume this drug.

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The School Newspaper of Harriton High School
Relief without the Side Effects