There are a lot of misconceptions about the term “narcotics”. It’s a popular word—somewhat of a common topic in pop culture, and a big problem for law enforcement. This is why it is important to know the facts behind narcotics.
Though many people have heard of it, not everyone knows what narcotics really are. They are simply labeled “illegal drugs”. But as we will learn later on, this is too much of a broad term to be accurate. Let’s learn the truth about narcotics.
In common usage, narcotics are used to refer to any type of illegal drug, regardless of pharmacology.
However, in the medical community, it is more accurately described. It does not carry the same negative connotations. Believe it or not, many narcotics actually have medical use, the common of which involves inducing sleep.
The term narcotic used to refer to any psychoactive compound that has this sleep-inducing property. However, the definition soon expanded to include other drugs like opiates and opioids, commonly heroin and morphine. Also included in the new definition of narcotics are the derivatives of many compounds found within raw opium latex such as codeine and thebaine.
Within legal context, a narcotic drug is any drug that is used in violation of governmental regulation, even including cannabis.
If a drug is medically classified as “narcotic,” the penalties for violation may increase. For example, cocaine puts users in threat of a greater penalty for possession compared to amphetamines, despite both of them being classified as “Schedule II” drugs. This is because the former is a narcotic.
Narcotics are common and often easy to access. Therefore it is also very commonly abused. There are types of narcotics that are considered legal when prescribed by a doctor. This includes codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, morphine, and tramadol. Still, if taken outside of the doctor’s prescription or for longer than is recommended, all of these become illegal.
Narcotics that are illegal under all circumstances are heroin and opium.
Illegal use, abuse, and addiction involving narcotics are serious problems in many parts of the world. In fact, in the US, a survey conducted in 2012 found that 23.9 million Americans above the age of 12 had used illegal drugs in the month prior to the survey. Additionally, over 22 million people (above 9.2 percent of the population) struggled with substance abuse and/or dependence.
When abused or misused, the drugs classified as narcotics may produce some adverse effects. Users may experience dizziness, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and the feeling of physical dependence.
When used over a long period of time, the user puts himself at greater risk of developing an addiction. They will feel a need for more and more of the drug only to get the same effects.
Narcotics can be addictive because of the euphoric effects that they bring. But once this euphoria fades, the user is left with serious medical problems to deal with.
Help out a loved one who is struggling with narcotic abuse today. Find the right treatment facility and program for their specific needs. They will need it to detoxify while going through various stages of withdrawal. Offer them your love and support, and they will be able to live a sober life once more.