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  • Narcotics – What is it? How Does it Work? Are There Any Side Effects?

    The word narcotics comes from a Greek word for sleep. However, the term describes a number of drugs, while formally it refers only to synthetic opioids, semi-synthetic opioids, and opium. Additionally, these substances are also called opiates.

    Everything You Need to Know About Narcotics

    Examples of Narcotics

    NarcoticsNarcotics are so-called downers because they depress the central nervous system. As a result, they can  cause relaxation and sleepiness. Opiates are highly addictive substances that can cause tolerance and later on, addiction. On one hand, they can be controlled prescriptions such as codeine and oxycodone. On the other hand, they can be illegal ones such as heroin and others.

    All opiates affect a person’s body in the same way. However, specific effects depend on ingredients of the drug. For those and many other reasons, you should only use it if and when you have a prescription.

    Some of the legal narcotics are:

    • Codeine
    • Hydrocodone
    • Hydromorphone
    • Meperidine
    • Fentanyl
    • Methadone
    • Morphine
    • Tramadol

    Most often used illegal narcotics are:

    • Heroin
    • Opium

    What are Side Effects of Narcotics

    Since they are highly addictive substances, people often abuse them. Needless to say, they can cause serious side effects, such as:

    • Dependence
    • Depressed breathing
    • Euphoria
    • Dizziness
    • Tolerance
    • Addiction
    • Sedation
    • Stomach pain
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Drug craving behavior
    • Overdose
    • Death


    Through history, this poppy plant extract was one of the most potent painkillers. In fact, its abuse started back in 1300’s in Asia. It was a point of contention between the British Empire and China in the 1800s. The conflict got to a point that they went to war over it. Today, people use opium derivatives and semi-synthesized opioids.


    One of the most used opium extracts is Morphine. This narcotic was created at the beginning of the 19th century by a German chemist Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner. Presently, it’s a painkiller for severe chronic and acute pain.

    This highly addictive substance can cause:

    • Breathing issues
    • Dizziness
    • Dry mouth
    • Nervousness
    • Agitation
    • Impotence and low libido
    • Weight loss
    • Headache
    • Sweating


    Heroin, was created in 1874 for painkilling purposes. Incidentally, it is possible that this poppy seed derivative is more addictive than morphine. As a result, heroin is today, the opioid that people abuse the most. Usually, they smoke, snort, or inject the drug.

    The following are just some of Heroin’s side effects:

    • Sleepiness
    • Dry mouth
    • Respiratory problems
    • Euphoria
    • Overdose
    • Death


    Another Opium derivative is Codeine. This narcotic is prescribed mostly as a painkiller. However, people can use it as a cough suppressant, sedative, and in anxiety treatment as well. Just as any other narcotic, Codeine is a highly addictive substance.


    Classified as a Schedule II and III controlled substance, Hydrocodone is a semi-synthesized opioid. They use it to treat pain, and as a very potent cough suppressant.

    Some of the most used brand names are:

    • Vicodin
    • Zydone
    • Atuss
    • Anexsia
    • Lortab

    Hydrocodone comes in the form of tablet, capsule, liquid, or syrup.


    This schedule II controlled substance is a semi-synthesized opioid, and most commonly, a pain reliever. It comes in the form of a capsule, tablet, or liquid.

    Some of Oxycodone brand names are:

    • Combunox
    • Roxicodone
    • Roxicet
    • OxyContin
    • Percocet
    • Percodan


    Hydromorphone is a Morphine derivative that is much more potent but less addictive than its predecessor. People mostly use it for pain treatment and as a cough suppressant. Most popular brand names are Exalgo and Dilaudid.

    Synthetic Opioids


    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which eases the pain in cancer patients. Some of the brand names of this powerful narcotic that are even more potent than Morphine are Abstral, Fentora, and Onsolis.


    Methadone is synthetic opioid which relieves withdrawal symptoms in opiate addiction treatment. Brand names are Dolophine and Methadose.


    Meperidine, also known as Demerol, is an anesthetic drug mostly for labor pain relief.

    Narcotics Addiction Treatment

    Due to their highly addictive nature, narcotics are some of the most commonly abused drugs.

    Are you or someone you love taking larger doses than prescribed? Are they showing withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available? In addition, are they showing drug seeking behavior? If any of the answers is yes, immediately ask for professional help.

    In most cases, opiate addiction requires inpatient rehabilitation.

    First, there is detox under a strict medical supervision. Medications which relieves the unpleasant and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms are Suboxone, Methadone, and Revia.

    After, when the detox period is over, one stays in an inpatient facility for counseling. They base the counseling on behavioral therapy. It helps former addicts to learn new ways of dealing with everyday problems and stressful situation without the drug. Additionally, it helps them to avoid relapse.

    Family therapy and support groups are ways of building a strong support system after a person leaves the clinic.

    Other goals of counseling are creating an effective relapse prevention plan. First, you learn how to avoid risky situations. Then, you learn how to recognize triggers and how to deal with them. Finally, you learn how to be honest about the problem and how to ask for help.

    If the relapse occurs, do not be ashamed. Opioid addiction is a chronic disease. Therefore, the best thing you can do is start the rehabilitation process from scratch.

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