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Narcotic Meaning

According to the World Health Organization, "Worldwide, about 0.5 million deaths are attributable to drug use. More than 70% of these deaths are related to opioids, with more than 30% of those deaths caused by overdose." According to WHO estimates, approximately 115 000 people died of opioid overdose in 2017 and increasing use of highly potent opioids appearing on the illicit drug market In this article, we will be talking about opioids which are also called narcotic. We will learn the narcotic meaning, list of narcotic drugs, effects of narcotics, and other related aspects which will help us to understand this concept.

Introduction - Narcotic

For drug management and treatment, two types of medications can be useful and prescribed such as narcotic medications and non-narcotic drugs. The former is used to treat the moderate to severe degree of pain and are taken on doctor's prescription along with close monitoring of the drugs whereas the latter are easily available at chemist or drug stores with and without prescription ( prescription is required when higher doses are being demanded ) and also given sometimes during the surgery so that pain after the surgery can be reduced and the patient does not need to use the norcotics drugs. 

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Narcotic Meaning

It is a kind of drug which can be addictive and helps in reducing or inducing pain or sleep whereas it also leads to change in mood as well as behaviour. It is a powerful substance or drug that relaxes you. The drug stops your pain and makes you sleep. It is a drug that causes insensibility or stupor. Narcosis persuaded by narcotics from the Greek "narke" for "numbness or torpor". It is a substance that is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

It is also known as "opioids". According to the World Health Organization, " The term “opioids” includes compounds that are extracted from the poppy seed as well as semi-synthetic and synthetic compounds with similar properties that can interact with opioid receptors in the brain.". 


The effects of drugs can be different on different persons and at different timings and generally depends upon how heavy dose has been taken, any previous exposure or route of administration of the drug, etc. The effects are mentioned below:

  • When the pain of the person is more severe then doctors suggest the stronger prescription such as opioid and they have to manage these pain medications so closely because if not followed properly can lead to side effects such as constipation, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, etc.

  • It can be dangerous these medications are consumed with alcohol and other medications such as antidepressants, sleeping pills, some antibiotics, anxiety medications, etc.

  • After using these pain medications, the person will feel like, he may need the same medication to ease the pain, which is called tolerance whereas when a person take this over an extended period and his body become so used to these medicines and if a person stops abruptly taking these medications then it will lead to some side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, anxiety, and irritability, etc. This phase is called dependence.

  • Negative consequences can be seen when people get addicted to these medications which leads to a great impact on their personal and professional lives and sometimes, they also used to take other's pills and also buy them off the street. This will not end well if the person doesn't go to the doctor or addiction specialist.

  • Hyperalgesia, immunologic and hormonal dysfunction, muscle rigidity, myoclonus, etc. are said to be less common side effects whereas sedation, constipation, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, physical dependence, tolerance, respiratory depression etc. are said to be common among which nausea and constipation are most common.

  • Breathing problems can occur because of their pharmacological effects and overdose can also lead to death.

List of Narcotics

The list of narcotics includes Opium, Heroin, Codeine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Tramadol, Morphine, Hydromorphone, Fentanyl, Carfentanil. 

  • Opium: Opium was used widely and it is derived from a plant named opium poppy plant. Opium is a mixture of opiate alkaloids. The substance that distributes as the building blocks for the blend of many opioid drugs. Sometimes, it is distributed as a liquid and solid. But it is run into brownish powder. Opium is used as smoke but it is also used as a pill form or mixed with a drink.

  • Heroin: It is also made from an opium poppy plant. Like other narcotics, heroin also relieves the pain but also it has bad effects. It increases sedation and slows down other functions in the body that controls respiration. It is a brown or white powder and it is also found as a sticky substance which is called "black tar heroin."

  • Codeine: The Codeine narcotic is extracted from the poppy plant. It is directly used in medical prescriptions. It relies on morphine as a chemical building block that is why it is manufactured and taken for direct use. It is available in combination with products such as Tylenol with codeine.

  • Oxycodone: It is one of the most popular drugs. OxyContin and other opioids contain oxycodone. It is an effective painkiller for severe pain. However, its effects on physical dependence and leads to addiction to regular use of these drugs. Oxycodone is available in tablets and is also distributed in combination with acetaminophen and aspirin.

  • Hydrocodone: It is the most prescribed drug. It is regular in use. It is an effective painkiller. It has some properties of giving relief to cough and cold. It is prescribed as a tablet or oral solution. But some are used as a drug by using injections and smoking.

  • Tramadol: It is a unique opioid. It has generally low abuse. It is only used by those who are already drug dependants like healthcare providers, and by pain sufferers. It is usually less harmful but it may be addictive if a person misuses it.

  • Morphine: It is natural which is derived from the Opium poppy plant. It is used for pain relief. Before surgical procedures, it provides sedation. It is widely used in hospitals for medical prescriptions. Many synthetic and semisynthetic narcotics are derived from morphine.

  • Hydromorphone: It is derived from morphine that has a high potential, more addictive. It is abused if taken in a high quantity. It is a powerful painkiller that is used in hospitals and other clinics. Some people misuse it by an attempt to smoke, snort and by crushing the tablet and taking a drug in the body.

  • Fentanyl: It is prescribed to treat severe pain in those who are tolerant to opioids. It is 50-100 times more potent than morphine narcotics. It is available as lozenges, sublingual tablets, buccal tablets and as well as sprays. It is used by freezing and cutting up the patches to chew and by oral ingestion. It is highly addictive. It is absorbed through the skin on contact due to its small size. It is also used in small doses because of its high potential.

  • Carfentanil: It is a powerful opioid narcotic which is developed for animals' medicine. This is also known as "elephant tranquiliser." It is 100 times more effective than fentanyl and 5000 times more potent than heroin and it has 10000 times more potential than morphine. This drug is also in powdered form just like heroin but it is more dangerous even after taking a small dose of it. It is added to heroin to cut and stretch the drug. Because of its high potential, it is highly addictive.

Additional Information

  • Besides these, peripheral neuropathy is used for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy because patients of this may experience different levels or degrees of pain and in case of severe pain, this medication can be used. 

  • On the other hand, if we talk about benzodiazepines, then this and narcotics are considered as the common drugs of abuse. Diazepam or Valium narcotic is an example of this and in most parts like the US, the use of valium is illegal. 

  • If we talk about the strongest narcotic, then in the community use, fentanyl is considered to be more potent i.e. around 70 to 100 times more than morphine narcotic.

  • Baclofen narcotic is a kind of skeletal muscle relaxant and it is sometimes not considered a narcotic but it is similar to narcotic in case of drug abuse.


Thus, to conclude in the end we can say that there is no doubt narcotics can be useful for various reasons and in treatment related to pain but close monitoring of these medications are required so that it does not lead to severe impact on the patient. It should be taken only with the doctor's prescription and in case of increasing chances of addiction, the help of doctors as well as addiction specialists need to be taken on time. These medications should be taken according to the prescription-only otherwise can lead to side effects as well, doctors help should be taken and in case of high chances of dependence or addiction, never use someone's pills or buy it off the streets from any seller.

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FAQs on Narcotic

1. What is a Narcotic?

Answer. It is a kind of drug that helps in reducing or inducing pain or sleep whereas it also leads to a change in mood and behaviour. When it is taken so much, it can be addictive as well. It is a powerful substance or drug that helps in reducing the pain and relaxes you. The drug stops your pain, makes you sleep & causes insensibility or stupor. In simple words, we can say that It is a drug used to treat moderate to severe pain.

2. What Effects are Caused By Narcotics?

Answer. Constipation and nausea are its most common effects whereas Hyperalgesia, immunologic and hormonal dysfunction, myoclonus, etc. are said to be less common side effects and sedation, constipation, nausea, vomiting, physical dependence, dizziness, tolerance, respiratory depression etc. are said to be common. Besides these, breathing problems can also occur because of the pharmacological effects and overdose of narcotics can also lead to death.

3. What is Drug Abuse?

Answer.  The excessive use of high potential and psychoactive drugs is called drug abuse. The drugs which are harmful to the body.  It can lead to physical, emotional, mentally and social harm. The drugs are used as a painkiller but somehow they are addictive. 

Such as alcohol, pain medications or illegal drugs which are banned by the government. By consuming these drugs in an illegal way, it is called drug abuse.

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