The Free Medical Dictionary by Farlex
DEFINITION————————————– Narcotics are natural opioid drugs derived from the Asian poppy Palaver somniferous or semi-synthetic or synthetic substitutes for these drugs. PURPOSE—————————————- Narcotics are drugs that dull the sense of pain and cause drowsiness or sleep. They are the most effective tool a physician has to relieve severe pain. Narcotics are also given pre-operatively to relieve anxiety and induce anesthesia. Other common uses are to suppress cough and to control very severe diarrhea. In large doses, they can suppress the ability to breathe and cause coma and death. Narcotics are also taken illegally for recreational use. PRECAUTIONS————————————- Narcotics should only be taken under the direction of a physician. These drugs depress the central nervous system and should not be taken with other drugs, such as ALCOHOL, BENZODIAZEPINES, BARBITURATES,AND ANTIHISTAMINES that also depress the central nervous system.—————————————————– OPIOIDS are broken down by the liver. Individuals with liver damage may not detoxify these substances as rapidly as healthy individuals, leading to potential accidental overdose. Street narcotics are of uncertain strength and may be contaminated with toxic chemicals or contain a mixture of drugs that can cause life-threatening reactions. DESCRIPTION————————————— Natural narcotics are derived directly from the sap of the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy. Morphine and codeine are the most familiar natural narcotics and are the narcotics most frequently used in medical settings. Often they are prescribed in combination with other non-narcotic drugs. Heroin is a semi-synthetic narcotic. It has no medical or legal uses. Other completely synthetic narcotics are made in the laboratory. These include drugs with medical uses such as FENTANYL AND OXYCODONE are illegal “designer drugs” synthesized for recreational use. Some man-made narcotics are hundreds of times more potent than natural narcotics.