Addiction Potential of Opiates in Medical Use

  • E. Beubler
Conference paper


Today, opiates are the most important drugs in the treatment of severe, exspecially severe chronic pain. Already in 1680, Thomas Sydenham, the so called English Hippocrates told us: “Among the remedies which it had pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacions as opium” and only recently P. D. Wall has written in “Pain”: “A real triumph of medicine in the past 50 years has been to reestablish a proper place for the ancient therapy of narcotics in the treatment of pain. Pioneers as Dame Cicely Saunders, have played a crucial role in that victory. It is a disgraceful episode in the history of medicine that doctors and scientists allowed themselves to join a mass hysteria which confused the tremendous benefits of narcotics for the patient in pain with the social abuse of the same compounds. Any number of completely irrelevant aspects of narcotics were introduced to the utter confusion of good people including doctors, clerics, politicians and patients. It was commonly suspected that the prescription of narcotics was a polite way of killing patients under the guise of treating their pain.” (End of citation) (1)


Drug Dependence Patient Control Analgesia Chronic Headache Bone Marrow Transplant Patient Severe Chronic Pain 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Beubler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental and Clinical PharmacologyGrazAustria

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