The U.S. classifies a narcotic in legal context as opium, an opium derivative, semi-synthetic opiates and fully-synthetic opiates. Cocaine and the coca leaf are also part of the classification under the U.S. controlled substances act, although they are not chemically considered narcotics. The term “narcotic” is often overused and misused by those in law enforcement. The word is sometimes used as a collective term to refer to all illegal drugs or those that are unlawfully possessed.

Uses: Medically And Recreationally

For medicinal uses, narcotics are taken orally, intravenously, as suppositories or transdermally in the form of skin patches. The pain-relieving property of opiates makes them the first line of defense against pain due to trauma, injuries, surgery or chronic illness. Many people misuse and abuse narcotics because they can produce a high, rush, feelings of sedation and euphoria. pills are often crushed, chewed or broken and taken orally, inhaled or injected.
Narcotic skin patches, marketed under different names including Fentanyl, can be cut apart and misused in a variety of ways. Whether obtained legally or not, some people use narcotics in more frequent doses or in larger amounts than what is prescribed. This can quickly lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction. In the U.S., narcotics are also indicated for use as a cough suppressant and anti-diarrheal medication.

Side Effects Of Narcotic Use & Symptoms Of Overdose

The use of narcotics can produce a variety of side effects including constipation, itching, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, apathy, respiratory depression, inability to concentrate, pupil constriction, flushing of the face and neck and lessened physical activity. Toxic effects can occur if taken in large doses. Signs and symptoms of a narcotic or opiate overdose include nausea, nodding off, seizures, coma, small pupils and inadequate supply of oxygen.

Narcotic Addiction, Treatment & Relapse

Addiction can occur for those who legally receive the medication for a legitimate condition. Developing a tolerance to the drug can lead to a patient taking a higher dose. Some will even “doctor shop,” or try to obtain the pills from different sources. Non-medical use for experimental or recreational use is also common. Narcotic addiction can manifest physically and psychologically, creating a powerful grip on users. Freedom from addiction and dependence is the goal of any treatment.
A wide range of in-patient and out-patient programs and services are available for people who are addicted to narcotics including heroin and prescription painkillers such as morphine, OxyContin , Fentanyl, Lorcet and Lortab. Detox, withdrawal and rehabilitation can stir up intense feelings of depression, anxiety and physical discomfort. This can make sticking with sobriety all the more challenging. Relapse can happen at any point along the road to sobriety – even years after treatment has ended. Factors that can set users up for relapse include stress, anger, anxiety, mood swings, isolation, poor habits and poor choices.

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