What is a narcotic drug?
The term narcotics is commonly heard on TV crime shows, and people generally associate the term with any drug. In actuality, narcotics are more specific. So what is a narcotic drug?
Narcotics – commonly referred to as opioids or opiates – are a class of pain-relieving drugs that come from opium, which is a drug produced by the poppy plant. Known for its many useful pain-relieving applications in cases of chronic diseases, it is unlikely for one to become dependent or addicted to the drug when it is taken as prescribed.
Widely recommended to treat painful conditions, their pain-killing abilities are what make this class of drugs the most dangerous throughout the nation, at epidemic proportions. When taken over a long period of time or in ways other than prescribed, narcotics abuse can cause one to develop drug tolerance and result in drug dependency and addiction.
Narcotics help eliminate pain, stress and anxiety. They can also induce feelings of intense euphoria, and a strong sense of well-being in a person. However, when taken in higher quantities than prescribed or when combined with other addictive substances like alcohol or other illegal drugs, narcotics can also prove dangerous.
There are various types of narcotic drugs: Illicit drugs such as heroin and prescription pain medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. Narcotic drugs come in various forms, including tablets, syrups, capsules and intravenous injections. While narcotic prescriptions are bought, sold and traded on the black market, right along with heroin and cocaine, some opioid prescription drugs are readily available in the family medicine cabinet, particularly if family members or pets have undergone surgical procedures.
These drugs can be taken responsibly and moderately, as prescribed, but tolerance, or the need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects, naturally builds – increasing the chances of a person becoming physically dependent on the drug. Often people use narcotics to suppress emotional pain apart from the physical one. The euphoria that accompanies narcotic use makes abuse prevalent. When opioid prescription drugs are taken without a medical need, the effects can be life-threatening, leading to overdose and even death.