This is not going to be a very long section because, frankly, there isn’t much real scientific evidence to examine when it comes to the Brain Disease Model of Addiction, and as it pertains to opioids. Remember, we are not discussing cocaine, alcohol, amphetamines, or any other substance. We are limiting our discussion to opioids.
In addition, we are not the first to voice skepticism when it comes to opioids and the Brain Disease Model of Addiction. We look now to the excellent scientific review article by Dr. David Nutt. Dr. Nutt is an expert in the field, having served as drugs czar under the British Prime Minister Tony Blair . And Dr. Nutt put forth in his well-organized article: The Dopamine Theory of Addiction, 40 years of highs and lows.
And what Dr. nut is alleging in his article is that the addiction experts have gone so far off into their own world that they have abandoned the ways of science. This is a serious allegation. And let’s look into exactly what Dr. Nutt is trying to tell us.
Let’s begin with the article by Volkow et al (2016).
And let’s begin with one quote from this vocal at all 2016 article:
“All known addictive drugs, activate reward regions in the brain by causing sharp increases in the release of dopamine”
And the reader should know. That this one sentence is the cornerstone of the Brain Disease Model of Addiction. The entire theory rests upon the surge in brain dopamine in response to the administration of the drug. This would mean that for opioids to be addictive, when opioids are given to a person, we should see a surge in brain dopamine. And this surge in brain dopamine in response to the opioid is no minor detail. The entire Brain Disease Model of Addiction hinges upon this surge in brain dopamine, and in response to the administration of the opioid. But there is only one problem. The two modern and well-done studies with opioids and brain dopamine failed to show any increase in brain dopamine when opioids are administered. Now stop and think about this for a moment. The Brain Disease Model of Addiction, at least, as put forth by Volkow et al (2016), called for a “sharp increase” in the release of dopamine. But both modern studies looking at opioids, failed to see any surge in brain dopamine, much less a sharp surge, when opioids were given to a human. Let’s look at these two modern studies in more detail. First, we will look at the scientific study by Daglish et al (2011):
In the study, humans were given an opioid. And brain dopamine was measured using the highly accurate PET scan. And when the opioid was given, Daglish at all found “no measurable change in (brain) dopamine”. The Brain Disease Model of Addiction called for a sharp increase in brain dopamine. The Daglish et al (2011) study found no surge in brain dopamine.
Let’s move on now to the second well done scientific study that again showed no surge in brain dopamine, and in response to the administration of an opioid to a human. This study is by Watson et al (2014). Again, the superior technique of the PET scan is utilized. Again an opioid is given to humans. And again, the levels of brain dopamine are measured. And just like in the Daglish et al (2011) study, again, no surge in brain dopamine is seen in response to the person being given an opioid. The Brain Disease Model of Addiction, at least as put forth by Volkow et al (2016), calls for a “sharp increase” in brain dopamine. But Watson et al (2014) says there was “no detectable increase in striatal (brain) dopamine levels”.
This is just how quickly their myths fall apart. Their science doesn’t even stand up to the slightest scrutiny. And this is why Dr. Nutt issued his warning in 2015.
We urge the reader to study and learn the above section. We urged the reader to answer the question for themselves:
What scientific evidence exist to support the concept of the opioid as an addictive substance?
And let’s just be sure we understand, neurotoxicity is not addiction. And there is plenty of evidence for neurotoxicity as a result of the opioids.