What are Narcotics?
Narcotics is a broad term that is associated with opioids, commonly heroin, morphine and their derivatives. As a term, narcotics, is imprecisely clarified; when used in a legal context, a narcotic is a prohibited drug or one that is in direct violation of governmental regulation. From a pharmacological or medical standpoint, the term can refer to psychoactive compounds or any substance that possesses an intoxicating power.
Narcotics are used for a variety of legal purposes, such as to treat pain, alleviate diarrhea and induce anesthesia. Narcotics are administered in a variety of ways. Some may be taken orally or injected. When used for recreational purposes, narcotics are often snorted, injected or smoked. The effects of narcotics use will depend on the dose, previous exposure to the drug and the route of administration.
Statutory classifications of drugs as narcotics typically increase the attached penalties for violating particular drug control laws. For example, federal law classifies amphetamines and cocaine as Schedule II drugs, however, the penalties attached to possession of cocaine is more stringent than that of amphetamines, because cocaine—unlike an amphetamine—is classified as a narcotic. The United States, under the nation’s Code of Federal Regulations, defines narcotics as the following:
• The term narcotics means any of the following—whether produced directly or indirectly or independently through a chemical synthesis or as a combination of chemical synthesis and extraction:
o Opiates, Opium, derivatives of opium, including their esters, ethers, salts, isomers
o Poppy straw and concentrate of poppy straw
o Cocaine and its salts (Coca leaves)
o Ecgonine, its salts and derivatives
o Any mixture, compound or preparation that contains any quantity of any of the above listed substances.
o A non-narcotic is defined as any drug that relieves pain; non-narcotic allergy medications and narcotic analgesics used to alleviate severe pain are not attached with federal penalties for use, possession or distribution.
A more informal description of narcotics will simplify the class of drugs—narcotics are a colloquialism used to describe any illegal drug. This confusion between specific terminology and generic use has gotten so out of whack, that many experts have simply replaced “narcotics” with “opioids”.
The Effects of Narcotics:
Narcotics will affect the human body in a number of ways. The highly addictive nature of the drugs, combined with their ghastly side effects rationalize the stringent regulations placed on the use, possession, manufacturing and distribution of narcotics. Although narcotics may hold specific medical uses, the laws regulating the illegal use (without a prescription) are rigid. Side effects of narcotics include drowsiness, respiratory depression, urinary retention, severe withdrawal symptoms, loss of appetite, cardiac arrest, seizures and in severe cases (common with chronic use) death.
Even though a recreational user of narcotics will experience an overall sense of euphoria while high, there are several dangers associated with ingestion. The most common dangers associated narcotics are the ever-increasing risk of disease, infection and overdose. With repeated use of narcotics, a user will invariably build a dependency and tolerance towards the drug. The development of tolerance is characterized by a decreased high and a shortened duration of the high.