Narcotic Drugs - symptoms, Definition, Description, General use, Precautions, Side effects

September 6, 2013 – 11:04

Narcotic Drugs 2186 Photo by: Zurijeta


Narcotics are addictive drugs that reduce the user's perception of pain and induce euphoria (a feeling of exaggerated and unrealistic well-being). The English word narcotic is derived from the Greek narkotikos , which means "numbing" or "deadening." Although the term can refer to any drug that deadens sensation or produces stupor, it is commonly applied to the opioids—that is, to all natural or synthetic drugs that act like morphine.


Historical background

Narcotics are the oldest as well as the strongest analgesics , or pain-relieving drugs, known to humans. Ancient Sumerian and Egyptian medical texts dated as early as 4000 B.C. mention the opium poppy ( Papaver somniferum ) as the source of a milky fluid (opium latex) that could be given to relieve coughs and insomnia as well as ease pain. Traditional Chinese medicine recommended the opium poppy, known to Chinese physicians as ying su ke , for the treatment of asthma , severe diarrhea , and dysentery as well as chronic pain and insomnia. Opium latex contains between 10 and 20 percent morphine, which in its purified form is a white crystalline powder with a bitter taste.

Narcotics are central nervous system depressants that produce a stuporous state in the person who takes them. These drugs often induce a state of euphoria or feeling of extreme well-being, and they are powerfully addictive. The body quickly builds a tolerance to narcotics in as little as two to three days, so that greater doses are required to achieve the same effect. Because of the addictive qualities of these drugs, most countries in the twenty-first century have strict laws regarding the production and distribution of narcotics. These laws became necessary when opium addiction in the nineteenth century became a widespread social problem in the developed countries. Opium, which was the first of the opioids to be widely used, had been a common folk remedy for centuries that often led to addiction for the user; in fact, many popular Victorian patent medicines for "female complaints" actually contained opium. The invention of the hypodermic needle in the mid-nineteenth century, however, increased the number of addicts because it allowed opioids to be delivered directly into the bloodstream, thereby dramatically increasing their effect.


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