Narcotics Effects on the Body

The increasing number of narcotics-related emergency room visits speaks volumes on narcotics effects on the body. In 2008, emergency department visits across the U.S. reached a total of 305,885 admissions, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. This total represents a 111 percent increase in admission rates since 2004.

Narcotics effects on the body can range from mild to severe at any given time depending on the health of the user and how long they’ve been using. Over time, narcotics work to weaken body and brain functions leaving a person completely dependent on the drug.

Brain and Body Effects

Narcotics, a class of drugs derived from the opium plant, come in the form prescription drugs and street drugs. Some of the more commonly used narcotics include:

  • Meperidine
  • Heroine
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine

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

Ultimately, any narcotics effects a person experiences originates in the brain. When a narcotic drug enters the brain, it disrupts the brain’s biochemical processes to the point where major body processes are altered. As narcotics typically have an overall sedative effect, slowed heart rate, slowed breathing and decreased appetite can all result from the use of narcotic drugs.


narcotics effects

Narcotic dependency reduces your ability to feel happy.

When used over time on a regular basis, narcotics effects can take the form of dependency. At this point, the brain and body become unable to carry out normal functions without drugs in the system. The continued effects of narcotics on brain receptors eventually block normal endorphin secretions in the brain. Since endorphin secretions are the body’s natural pain-killer chemicals, the brain and body lose their ability to feel calm, happy or relaxed without the help of narcotics.

Dependency becomes most apparent in cases when a person doesn’t take drugs for a while. Under these conditions, narcotics effects can take the form of breathing problems, irritability, disorientation, sweating as well as other ill effects.


While dependency creates the overall craving for narcotics, narcotics effects involving addiction appear more so in the everyday life of the user. Once a person reaches the point where getting and using the drug takes priority over everything else, addiction has set in. Close relationships, friendships as well as work and family obligations begin to fall by the wayside.

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As the number one priority in life, a person’s appearance may start to deteriorate in terms of cleanliness and overall health. Narcotics effects may also drive a person to engage in reckless behaviors while using or when trying to “score” more drugs.

Long-Term Effects

Over time, narcotics effects on the brain’s endorphin receptors account for much of the long-term damage that results. When functioning normally, endorphin secretions enable a person to reach states of calmness and relaxation. These same secretions also help regulate bodily processes. Narcotics essentially shut down normal receptor function leaving the brain with a perpetual craving for drugs, even after a person has stopped using. These changes inevitably affect how a person thinks and behaves as it can take years before brain functions go back to normal.

Physical long-term narcotics effects can bring about permanent damage to the liver and kidneys. In cases where a person, injects or shoots up narcotics, the risk of ongoing bacterial infections in the blood and heart valves increases the longer a person uses.

If you or someone you love needs help for a narcotics use disorder, call  844-431-5818(Who Answers?) now to be connected with treatment centers in your area. 

the Take-Away

The narcotics effects you may experience can range from mild to severe. After regular use of the drug, you may become addicted.