People used to refer to all types of illegal and addictive drugs as narcotics, but the term has a much narrower meaning today.

What Is A Narcotic Drug?

So what is a narcotic drug, exactly? Narcotic drugs are a specific class of drugs called opioids that are used to reduce pain. Narcotics are a class of pain-relieving drugs that come from opium, which is a drug produced by the poppy plant. Commonly referred to as opioids or opiates, narcotic drugs have the ability to bind to naturally occurring opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system to produce pain relief and euphoria. For this reason, opioid painkillers are typically prescribed to patients who experience chronic pain or have acute moderate-to-severe pain after an injury or a surgical procedure.

Types Of Narcotic Drugs

Narcotic drugs come in various forms, including tablets, syrups, capsules and intravenous injections. Common opioids or narcotic drugs include illicit drugs such as heroin and prescription pain medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Prescription opioids are common narcotic drugs that are prescribed for managing acute and chronic pain and are often prescribed with other drugs such as acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Other types of narcotic drugs include synthetic drugs also derived from opium.

Narcotic Drug Abuse

When these drugs are taken as prescribed, they are not usually addictive, but tolerance, or the need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects, can increase the chances that a person will become physically dependent on the drug. Due to tolerance that quickly develops with opioid drugs, people may take more than prescribed to feel the drug’s effects, making abuse very common.

Narcotics abuse is common when teens take a higher dose to get “high” or take a prescription longer than they need to, or if they take opioid medications without a prescription. Teens who abuse narcotic drugs may experience the following symptoms, according to WebMD:

  • Absence of pain (analgesia)
  • Sedation
  • Euphoria
  • Respiratory depression
  • Small pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching or flushed skin
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Poor judgment

When opioid prescription drugs are taken without a medical need, or for recreational purposes, the effects can be devastating, contributing to overdoses and even death. Some opioid prescription drugs are easily accessible in the family medicine cabinet, particularly if family members or pets have undergone surgical procedures in the past, so it is important to be aware of the effects of abuse and to ensure that these medications are locked away in a safe place.

Long-term Effects Of Narcotic Drugs

People who take opiate drugs for long periods of time can affect their body’s ability to reduce pain naturally. Chronic opioid abuse can also contribute to nerve cell degeneration as well as debilitating withdrawal symptoms that begin when a person tries to reduce or stop taking the drugs completely. Narcotic drugs can also lead to a number of long-term effects, including:

  • Depression
  • Increased pain sensitivity (hyperalgesia)
  • Tolerance
  • Physical dependence
  • Addiction
  • Collapsed veins
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Risk of choking
  • Coma
  • Compromised immune system
  • Death

Narcotic Drug Addiction

People who abuse opioids can develop a substance use disorder, as these drugs have a high potential for abuse and addiction. People who abuse narcotic drugs are at a greater risk of experiencing dangerous effects such as overdoses, physical dependence and addiction. These individuals often have an increased tolerance, are unable to stop taking narcotics without experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and continue to use narcotics after they have experienced negative consequences (e.g., legal, financial, health, etc.).

People who develop substance use disorders due to opioid drugs can experience a range of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, sleep problems (i.e., insomnia), agitation, vomiting and diarrhea, muscle aches, tremors and more. A narcotic treatment program that offers detoxification in addition to narcotic withdrawal treatment can be helpful for reducing the withdrawal symptoms of narcotics.

We can help you today!

We accept Most Private Insurance, reach out to us to so we can help!

Narcotic addiction treatment at Rancho San Diego

Rancho San Diego’s narcotic addiction treatment program offers comprehensive behavioral health services that are individualized for adolescents with addiction, mental health and co-occurring conditions. After a thorough assessment, each teen is given a customized program in order to best treat his or her specific issues. This extends to teenagers facing addiction to prescriptions drugs, a constantly growing problem in the United States.

At Sovereign Health’s narcotic rehab centers, our team of health care professionals is experienced in treating a litany of prescription drug addictions, tailoring our treatment programs specifically to each individual’s needs. We ensure that our patients are supervised to facilitate a smooth recovery. If you are interested in learning more about Sovereign Health’s adolescent treatment programs, contact our admissions staff at our 24/7 helpline.

Stay connected with Sovereign Health
Get the latest news on program developments, behavioral health news and company announcements
How can we help your teen succeed?

Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

What Are Our Past Patients Saying?

"There was more than just therapy. There were life skills that were taught and everyone here cared genuinely." - Jack