Are Narcotic Side Effects Potentially Fatal?

While narcotics offer a fast and effective remedy for pain, these drugs produce unwanted side effects that accumulate over time. Narcotic side effects account for why the medical use of these drugs can turn into recreational use without a person even knowing it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, rates of narcotic abuse nearly doubled between the years 2004 and 2009. By 2009, more than 475,000 emergency room visits were narcotics related.

While not fatal at the outset, the brain’s ability to tolerate these types of drugs becomes the springboard for narcotics side effects to snowball out of control. With long-term use, users place themselves at risk of any number of health consequences that become progressively worse with ongoing use. After a certain point, each successive dose brings with it an ever-increasing risk for overdose.

Tolerance Effects & Brain Deterioration

Narcotic Side Effects

With time, the brain will depend on narcotics to function.

Narcotic side effects take a considerable toll on brain functions over time. Tolerance effects pose the greatest danger when using the drugs for long periods of time.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the continuous use of narcotics causes brain chemical processes to depend on the drug’s effects to carry out normal function. As the brain becomes more dependent on narcotics, cell structures start to deteriorate making them less sensitive to the drug’s effects. As cells deteriorate, larger dosage amount are needed to produce the same desired effects.

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

Lapses in Consciousness

With long-term use, narcotic side effects start to take the form of heavy sedation. Narcotic drugs target endorphin-producing brain cell sites, causing unusually high levels of endorphin chemicals to flood the brain.

Once dosage amounts reach a certain point, users start to experience lapses in consciousness, also known as “nodding out.” These lapses can happen at any time. Should a lapse occur while a person is driving or operating heavy machinery, there’s a considerable risk for fatality.

Aspiration Dangers

People who abuse narcotics for the first time will likely experience narcotic side effects in the form of nausea and vomiting. With continued use, these effects tend to subside; however, they will resurface whenever a person experiences a withdrawal episode.

With frequent vomiting, the risk of aspiration increases as users breathe vomited materials into the lungs. Over time, a person can develop aspiration pneumonia that can eventually result in death.

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Overdose Potential

Overdose occurs when the amount of drugs consumed overpowers one or more vital bodily functions. In the case of narcotics, respiratory failure incidents account for the highest fatality rates associated with narcotics abuse. The longer a person uses the higher the risk of experiencing overdose narcotic side effects.

Overdose potential rests on tolerance narcotic side effects in terms of how large a dose the brain can tolerate at any given time. While the brain’s tolerance levels continue to rise, tolerance levels increase at a slower rate for other bodily processes.

After a certain point, the brain craves dosage amounts that far exceed the body’s tolerance level. When this happens, the respiratory system is usually the first to shut down. This risk for overdose narcotic side effects remains high for chronic drug users as well as for people who relapse after completing a detox treatment program.

To learn more about the dangerous side effect of narcotics, or for help finding addiction treatment, call  800-934-1582(Who Answers?) today!

the Take-Away

Narcotics are very serious drugs. They are easy to overdose on, and the side effects can be fatal. Each narcotic drug has its own dangers.