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If you’re currently battling a narcotic addiction, or you’re abusing one of these drugs, you’re in a dangerous situation. You may not realize the risks you’re taking. You may find it helpful to have a guide that can provide you with information on narcotics. That is what you will find here.
When you’re addicted to narcotics, it completely changes the course of your life. Likewise, abusing these drugs puts you on a treacherous path toward addiction. Getting the information you need now will allow you to be informed about addiction and recovery.
According to Wikipedia, a narcotic is a term used to describe a drug with psychoactive and sleep-inducing properties. That may be the “official” narcotics definition, but in the United States, it carries a slightly different meaning. People use it in association with both opioid and opiate drugs. It is commonly used to refer to heroin and morphine, but other drugs fall under this heading as well.
The term narcotic has a negative connotation to it. That is why it isn’t used as often today as it once was. In the legal sense, narcotics are drugs that are completely prohibited or banned. For example, heroin would be called a narcotic by law enforcement officials. Prescribed opiate drugs would not.
The words opioids (or opiates) and narcotics are often used in the same way. However, there are some slight differences that you should be aware of.
Opiate drugs are defined as those that are naturally derived from the opium poppy plant. Some examples of these substances are morphine and codeine. Opioids, on the other hand, are drugs that do not occur naturally. They work the same way, but they are chemically synthesized in a lab. Some examples of types of opioids would be Methadone and Fentanyl.
Even though there are some slight differences, they really aren’t a cause for concern. It’s considered acceptable to use both terms to describe both types of drugs.
A narcotic drug refers to both opioids and opiates. However, this term has gained a negative reputation because of its use to describe illegal drugs. This is why it isn’t really used as often in medical terminology today. Examples of narcotic drugs would be those that fall under the classifications of both opiates and opioids.
These drugs have a number of different medical purposes. Most of them are pain medications and they’re used to control or eliminate pain. However, some may be used for other reasons as well. There are some that are useful for helping people get off opiate drugs. They’re used as a part of a detoxification treatment.
It’s not uncommon for doctors to occasionally use narcotics off-label for various reasons. However, when they do this, they’re usually quite careful to limit these prescriptions. This is because these drugs can be habit-forming, and an addiction to them can happen quickly.
For the purposes of the information you’re seeking, we will be referring to opioid or opiate drugs as narcotics. There are several of them that fall under this headline, and most are used for pain. There may be some additional uses for them as well.
It’s important for you to be aware of each of these drugs and what their effects are. While all of them can be dangerous, most are actually quite useful when they’re used correctly. They’re heavily prescribed because they’re so effective.
While there are dozens of different narcotic drugs, there are some that are more frequently prescribed than others. If you’re using one of these substances, it’s quite possible that you will find it on this list.
Buprenorphine is a drug that is used as a part of medication-assisted treatment. It has been approved by the FDA for the purpose of treating opioid addiction. This drug is often used on its own, or it can be prescribed as Suboxone. Suboxone is a combination of the drugs Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Other brand names for Buprenorphine include:
While it might seem strange to use an opioid drug to treat an opioid addiction, this can be effective. However, people should never stay on this drug long-term. It can lead to abuse and eventually addiction.
According to SAMHSA, the availability of Buprenorphine has led to much higher rates of abuse. In 2005, there were just over 3,000 ER visits due to abusing Buprenorphine. In 2010, that number had risen to more than 30,000. Other statistics also indicate that the risk for abuse of this narcotic is quite high.
Buprenorphine can be effective when it is combined with a solid counseling program. However, it’s a drug that should be taken with extreme caution. People do abuse it, and it is possible to become addicted to it.
Carfentanil is a drug that many people are not aware of. It’s not as popular as other narcotics simply because of the risks it carries. This drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It is 100 times more potent than Fentanyl. Taking it in even small doses can have devastating consequences, which can even become fatal.
This is a drug that is traditionally used as a tranquilizer or sedative for large animals, such as elephants. It is not a narcotic that was designed for human use at all.
This drug has the appearance of heroin or cocaine. It comes in a powdered form. The Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement urges people to use extreme caution with this substance. EMS workers can accidentally expose themselves to it at the scenes of overdoses. It may also be mixed with heroin as a way to cut it.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the DEA issued a warning on Carfentanil in 2016. They stated that this drug was possibly being added to other street drugs in addition to heroin. However, they weren’t clear on which drugs it was being added to, or how it was being done.
Codeine is a narcotic drug that many people are familiar with. It is a frequently prescribed opiate that is useful for treating pain. It is also often added to cough syrup because of its cough suppressant capabilities.
This drug is commonly combined with other drugs to increase its effectiveness. For example, it’s common to be prescribed:
It will cause slight to moderate sedation, even in regular doses. The potential for abusing Codeine is extremely high. This drug is regularly given in liquid form (such as in cough syrup), which is very easy to abuse. This is done by mixing it with different forms of alcohol. The result is a drink that people refer to as:
People will also mix codeine with the sedative, glutethimide. Abusing this drug in any way always leads to a euphoric high.
According to the Global Information Network About Drugs, codeine is the most widely prescribed opiate. In some countries, it’s legal to use codeine without a prescription.
The drug Fentanyl has gotten a lot of press in recent months. Part of this is due to the fact that it was the drug that Prince overdosed on. While that story should have been enough to deter more people, its use continues to rise.
Fentanyl is a prescription narcotic that is given to those who suffer from extreme pain. In most cases, it’s considered as an option after other opioid drugs haven’t worked well. It is usually prescribed as a patch that is worn in various places on the skin. However, it’s also possible to get it as a lozenge, nasal spray or sublingual spray.
The different brand names for Fentanyl include:
According to Forbes, Fentanyl dosages are virtually uncontrolled on the street. That means that people really don’t know what they’re going to get. Many people assume this drug to be very similar to heroin, but it’s actually much more potent. Fentanyl is regularly mixed with other drugs, leaving people unaware that they are using it. Obtaining the drug for abuse purposes is very difficult in the United States. To compensate for this, it’s often imported illegally from China through Mexico.
Heroin is a drug that most people are very familiar with, even if they’ve never used it themselves. What you may not know is that it was once a legal pain reliever. It was made in 1874 by C.R. Alder Wright. He derived it from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy plant.
Today, heroin is an illegal narcotic. Most forms of this drug come in the form of a white powder. It is usually cut or mixed with other substances in an effort to stretch it out. It produces a euphoric high that is incredibly addictive.
Some people refer to heroin by its chemical name, diamorphine. On the street, it goes by several other names, such as:
People who use this narcotic will typically call their use “Chasing the Dragon.” They use this phrase because the first high with heroin is likely to be the best high they ever have. Subsequently, they’re always using it hoping to experience that same high. Like with other drugs, that never happens.
Interestingly enough, people will usually switch to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. The chemical structures of these drugs are very similar to one another. Heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected into a vein.
Hydrocodone is an opioid drug that many people know as Vicodin. This form of the drug is combined with acetaminophen. It is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. This drug is generally only used for those who need pain relief for a long time. Most doctors will prescribe or recommend other ways to help with pain before prescribing this drug. This is because its potential for addiction is quite high.
Like other prescribed pain medications, Hydrocodone is extremely effective. It is sold under two other popular brand names, which are Zohydro ER and Hysingla ER. These are extended release forms of the drug that work around the clock.
People who abuse Hydrocodone will usually do so in a number of ways. They may:
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Hydrocodone is helping to lead the opioid epidemic in the U.S. They also state that in 2015, 2 million people had a substance abuse disorder involving this type of pain reliever.
Hydromorphone is a medication more commonly known as Dilaudid. This drug has become very popular over the last several years. However, the tablet version of it does not produce as intense a high as the IV version. This has led people to seek out liquid Hydromorphone for abuse purposes.
This particular narcotic drug is much more potent than morphine. This is one of the reasons it’s so desirable. It’s typically only prescribed when circumstances call for the relief of chronic or severe pain. For example, cancer patients may be given Hydromorphone. It may also be used for patients who have suffered burns or other physical trauma.
Because of its level of potency, and because it’s an opiate drug, Hydromorphone is very addictive. It’s a fast-acting drug, so those in serious amounts of pain will often seek it out. Also, those who have a high tolerance for opiate drugs may be offered this narcotic instead of other options.
Methadone is a medication that has been used in medication-assisted treatment for years. It has been approved by the FDA as a way to help people quit using heroin or other opioid drugs. The FDA has also approved this narcotic for the treatment of chronic, severe pain.
Methadone is very different from the other narcotics on this list. People who need to use it must do so at an approved Methadone clinic, at least at first. Once a patient has proven to be compliant, at-home use of this drug may be approved. Of course, this may vary from patient to patient, and from state to state. People who take this drug are typically on it for a very long period of time. Some may even use it for years. For those who use it solely as prescribed, Methadone can lead to quick addictions. Stopping its use is generally a gradual process to help people avoid strong withdrawal symptoms.
While this drug is very effective, most experts agree that the risks usually outweigh the benefits. This is especially true considering the other options for pain relief and opioid treatment available today. The CDC has reported that over the last several years, there has been a sharp rise in Methadone deaths. They blame physicians’ reliance on it for pain relief for this. In 2006, there were 4 million prescriptions written for it alone.
Morphine may have been the first synthesized opioid drug, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Still, it was the one that began the epidemic we’ve come to know today. This narcotic medication is still heavily used – mostly in hospital settings – to relieve pain. It’s usually given as a liquid through an IV, or with extended release tablets or capsules.
While it may be difficult to obtain, Morphine is available on the streets. Taking it can lead to a quick addiction if it hasn’t been prescribed for you. You may find that your tolerance levels develop very fast. This means that you consistently need to take more of the drug to get high.
According to GINAD, some studies suggest that this particular narcotic may be more addictive than other drugs. These include cannabis, tobacco, alcohol and cocaine. Additionally, statistics tell us that 38% of those who inject morphine admit to having an addiction.
Opium comes from the latex from the opium poppy plant. It is used to make heroin and other opioid drugs, both those that are legal and those that are illegal. It is a drug that has been used for centuries. In fact, sources indicate that the earliest known seeds date back to the Neolithic age. Many countries have used it as a recreational and spiritual drug for thousands of years.
Today, this narcotic drug isn’t nearly as popular as it once was. Its use has given way to other, more available forms of the substance. Still, it is still sold on the streets and it is still regularly smuggled into the United States.
Once you begin using Opium, it probably won’t take very long to form an addiction to it. Trying to stop using it will be very difficult, and will result in withdrawal symptoms that are hard to manage on your own.
Oxymorphone is a drug that is usually sold under the brand names, Numorphan and Opana. It was developed in 1914 in Germany, and it is a powerful painkiller. This drug is usually administered as an injection or by tablet. Medically, it is a narcotic that is used to help with severe pain. Some physicians would use it prior to surgery to help with anxiety.
Due to its highly addictive nature, Oxymorphone was only used when other opioid drugs failed. In June of 2017, the FDA requested that it be removed from the market by its manufacturer.
It is possible to find Oxymorphone on the streets for sale. However, it’s not as easy to come by as other opioid drugs. It’s very strong, which is why some people might seek it out. Their tolerance levels may have become too high for other narcotics.
Tramadol is another opioid drug that has grown in popularity. It is frequently sold under the brand name, Ultram. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain, and is often the go-to drug before other opiates are prescribed. It can take up to an hour to relieve pain, which makes it less desirable than other opiates.
Tramadol is available in several different forms. It can be found in both liquid and tablet forms. When this drug is used long-term the potential for addiction is quite high. It should only be used in the short-term, and only at the prescribed dosage amounts.
Unfortunately, people are more likely to take higher doses of this medication than they are other drugs. This is because they assume the abuse potential of it to be low. Many people simply think that the drug is non-addictive because it was recommended by a doctor. The fact is that experts are finding out that it may be more addictive than they originally thought.
Narcotic abuse occurs when any medication is taken outside of a doctor’s prescription. This could refer to:
Taking a drug that was not prescribed for you at all Using a narcotic much longer than you should Using a substance solely for the purpose of getting high Taking one of these drugs in higher doses than you should Using it in any way that is contrary to what the label indicates (snorting, injecting, etc.)
As you’ve learned, many narcotics are prescribed painkillers. Because they’re prescribed, they’re assumed to be safe. This actually can make them much more dangerous than street drugs. The risk of overdosing on them is extremely high, and many people do.
The abuse of narcotics is in no way safe, even if it’s only done on a short-term basis. The potential for forming an addiction to them is very high. People tend to think that they can control their narcotics use, and this simply isn’t the case at all.
Even if you’re not addicted to narcotics, abusing them will result in dangerous side effects. They affect every area of your life, including your mental health and your physical health.
Make no mistake; there are serious risks involved with misusing narcotic drugs. If you are currently abusing them, you need to know what could happen as a result.
It’s not surprising that people are often shocked to learn that they’ve become addicted to narcotics. There are generally two types of addicts. There are those who became addicted on accident, and those who became addicted because of recreational abuse. In both cases, the tendency is to believe that a narcotic drug addiction isn’t going to happen to them.
For people who accidentally become addicted, they’re not always aware of the addictive nature of narcotics. They may know that their prescribed painkillers have warnings on them, but still assume them to be safe.
For those who become addicted because of recreational use, they typically think they can stay in control. For both types of individuals, it really doesn’t take that long before narcotics start to control them.
There are a lot of different possible causes behind narcotics addictions. First and foremost, it happens because people abuse these drugs for too long. For some drugs, even taking them as prescribed for too long can lead to an addiction.
There are usually some secondary causes behind these types of addictions too. They can include:
Any therapist who treats narcotic addiction will work on discovering the underlying causes. This is one of the ways that successful recovery takes place.
At this point, you might not be sure if you’re a narcotics addict or not. You need to know for certain because otherwise, you won’t be compelled to get help. You can begin by looking for some of the more common signs of narcotics addiction. These include:
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, you could very well be an addict. If you’re still not sure, try taking a drug addiction quiz. That will give you even more insight into your drug use problems.
The best way for you to recover from a narcotics addiction is to get professional help. This is available to you through a rehab for narcotic addicts. There are so many ways that getting this type of treatment will help you in your recovery.
Your addiction needs to be addressed from every angle. This means addressing the physical part of it, as well as the psychological part. If any aspect of it is ignored, you will most likely relapse. This is one reason why it’s never a good idea for people to quit using on their own.
The physical part of your addiction is probably of the most concern to you at this point. Maybe you’ve gone without your narcotic drugs before, and you’re worried about doing so again. The fact is that you will go through withdrawal symptoms. However, in a professional, controlled setting, your symptoms can be treated. This is usually not the case if you decide to try quitting on your own.
Narcotic or opioid withdrawal is not easy. In fact, it’s sometimes so hard that people would rather go back to using, rather than continue in recovery. It’s important for you to know what you can expect as you begin withdrawals from narcotic drugs.
Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include:
Excessive sweating Yawning and increased tearing of the eyes Muscle aches and pains in the body Feeling anxious, or even having panic attacks Becoming depressed Easily becoming agitated or angry Stomach cramps that can become quite painful Having diarrhea Nausea and vomiting
Sometimes people may even begin having seizures, breathing problems, or heart problems. It all depends on what type of narcotic you’re taking.
There are so many great benefits to detoxing from your narcotic drugs. No matter which drug you’re using, detoxification will help you by:
Detoxification is a step that you should not skip. It is an essential part in treating the physical component of your addiction.
As you go through drug detox, you’ll most likely be exposed to a particular style of treatment. We’ve mentioned medical tapering for those who are detoxing from prescribed narcotics. This is so important because these substances should never be stopped abruptly.
You may become involved in medical detox or holistic detox. This will be discussed with you prior to starting your treatment. Medical detox will involve the use of medications to control your symptoms. Holistic detox does not involve medications. Instead, a more natural approach is utilized, which includes exercise and dietary changes.
No matter which form of detox is right for you, you’ll want to participate with this treatment. It will prepare you for the next phase of your care, which will address the psychological part of your addiction. It also increases your chances of being successful overall.
Sometimes people assume that as long as they’re no longer having cravings, they don’t need rehab. This simply isn’t true at all. It’s helpful to eliminate your cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, of course. However, unless you address the psychological part of your addiction, you’re likely to relapse.
Drug rehab offers you an opportunity to do just that. You’ll be involved in several different types of therapy, all of which you desperately need to recover.
There are several different options for your recovery from narcotic drug addiction. The right one for you will be discussed with you before you begin.
You will either be appropriate for an inpatient or an outpatient option for treatment. Sometimes people prefer to go to outpatient care, but that’s not always the right choice. Outpatient treatment will involve you attending counseling appointments with a therapist. You could also become involved in Narcotics Anonymous for group therapy. You can visit NA.org to learn more about their program.
If you need outpatient treatment for one reason or another, there is one option available to you. You might want to try an intensive outpatient treatment program. This will give you a higher level of care, but still allow you to live at home.
Inpatient treatment is the best option for most people with narcotic addictions. They need to be removed from the source of their addictions. They also need the support and help that’s available 24⁄7 in an inpatient setting.
If you choose not to go to narcotics treatment and continue using, you need to know the risks involved. The longer you use, the more likely you’ll be to experience the long-term effects of narcotics drugs. These can include:
If you have a loved one on narcotics, you’ve probably tried to get them to stop. If that hasn’t worked for you, it may be time to take the next step.
You may want to consider having an intervention. These services are available through many drug rehab facilities, and they’re extremely effective.
There’s no need for you to put off getting help for your narcotics addiction. Here at Northpoint Washington, we want to help you recover.
Do you have questions about narcotics treatment that we haven’t answered in this guide? Please contact us so that we can get you the information you need.
Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.425.437.3298Contact Us
The Social Effects
Using narcotics often has extreme social consequences that most people don’t expect. More often than not, they become isolated from the people they care about the most. Friendships are strained because they no longer spend as much time with each other. Families are often torn apart because the addicts refuse to get help. In some cases, they will even refuse to acknowledge their addictions.
The strain that is placed on social relationships often perpetuates addiction. It becomes a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break. Even if it is broken, some relationships may not be salvageable. If you’re an addict, this is certainly something for you to keep in mind.
How Narcotics Affect the Brain Over Time
It’s impossible to use narcotics for a long period of time and not experience serious brain issues. The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It’s responsible for every part of our activities. People use their brains to think, to drive, to eat, to breathe, and to do virtually everything. The brain is also responsible for regulating the basic functions within the body.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, narcotic use interrupts the way brain cells communicate. When someone is using narcotic drugs, those chemicals interfere with the processing of information. In many ways, drugs can often mimic the brain’s natural chemicals. However, they don’t work in the same way. This leads to abnormal messages being sent through.
People use narcotic drugs because of their pleasurable effects. These effects are felt by the brain because of the surges of dopamine that occur when using them. Those surges become addictive as time goes on.
Depression is very common among narcotic drug addicts. Anxiety and other mental health conditions can also occur as a result. The brain’s normal function gets completely thrown off with the compulsive use of these substances. It’s no longer able to produce dopamine and the other “feel-good” chemicals on its own. As a result, people must keep on using the drugs in order to feel good, or even to feel normal.
The Effects of Narcotics on the Central Nervous System
It doesn’t take long for narcotic drugs to make their way through the entire central nervous system. This means that the spinal cord is also affected, along with the brain. These substances work by slowing down CNS activity.
As this occurs, various organs in the body start to slow down. This is why breathing rates generally become slower. This is why overdoses on narcotic drugs are so common. Heart rate and digestive systems will also slow down.
Sadly, some of the physical damage that these drugs can cause may be permanent in some cases. Sometimes it can be reversed. However, sometimes people have to live with the fact that even with recovery, they may not ever be the same.