Narcotic drugs come in the form of prescription painkillers like Oxycontin as well as in illegal forms, such as heroin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, at least nine percent of the U.S. population has misused narcotic drugs within their lifetimes.
Besides the overall sense of well-being and contentment these drugs produce, adverse narcotics effects stay with a person long after any pleasurable effects have subsided. Withdrawal episodes and addiction sit at the top of list. With long-term use, narcotics effects can cause permanent health problems as well as impaired brain function.
Whether prescribed legally or purchased illegally, narcotic drugs come with a long list of side effects and adverse reactions. Some of the more commonly used narcotics include:
With prescription medications alone, narcotics effects can cause nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, blurred vision and fatigue. While illegal drugs can cause similar side effects, the effects from the additives and byproducts used in the making of these drugs can be far worse.
The types of side effects experienced can vary with the type of drug used, the method of ingestion and the frequency of use. On top of the side effect potential, narcotics effects leave the brain and body wanting more with each successive use. As a person’s tolerance level increases the potential for drug dependence and addiction increase substantially.
For long-term users, narcotics effects become most apparent whenever a person tries to stop using. Withdrawal effects can happen as soon as 12 hours after the last drug dose is taken. As narcotics effects work to damage brain and body functions, withdrawal is the result of the body trying to repair itself. In effect, the body has become dependent on narcotics effects and must “re-learn” how to function without the presence of the drug in the system.
Withdrawal effects can vary from person to person. Drug type, usage rates and method of ingestion also determine the types of effects a person will experience. Some of the most likely effects to occur include:
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramping
- Dilated pupils
Narcotics effects on the overall health of the body cause ongoing damage the longer a person uses. IV users in particular stand to develop collapsed veins and eventual infections beneath the skin. These infections can move through the bloodstream and invade other areas of the body, such as the heart and lungs. When this happens, a person may develop serious respiratory and cardiac conditions.
Ongoing narcotics use in general greatly reduces a person’s appetite leading to poor dietary habits. This in turn weakens the body’s immune system making it more vulnerable to sickness and disease. Long-term narcotics use also takes a tremendous toll on the liver and kidneys. Liver and kidney damage leaves toxins to accumulate throughout the body. This in turn further contributes to the likelihood of getting sick and developing disease conditions.
University of Maryland Medical Center