Are Narcotics Addictive?

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Narcotics are opioids that are either prescribed by doctors as painkillers or used recreationally to get high. While narcotics do describe a wide variety of drugs, they all are either natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic opioids. They are also highly addictive.

What are Narcotics?

According to the DOJ, “narcotics/opioids come in various forms, including: tablets, capsules, skin patches, powder, chunks in varying colors (from white to shades of brown and black), liquid form for oral use and injection, syrups, suppositories, and lollipops.” They all either come from natural substances in the poppy plant or are synthesized to act like these substances.

Narcotics are often necessary. They help pain patients curb some of their worst pain symptoms and codeine (a type of narcotic drug) can even be used as a cough suppressant. But narcotics are habit-forming which can lead to a very severe opioid addiction.

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How Do Narcotics Become Addictive?

Are Narcotics Addictive

Taking more narcotics than prescribed often leads to addiction.

A person can become addicted to narcotics no matter why he or she is taking them. If someone is abusing these drugs, he or she has a higher chance of becoming addicted. Whether people inject heroin in order to get high or crush Oxycontin tablets for the same reason, the abuse of these narcotics makes people addicted to the high they achieve when taking the drugs.

A person can even become addicted to prescription narcotics when taking them for pain. If someone takes prescription opioids for a long time, he or she may begin to feel that the drugs do not accurately curb the pain symptoms like they used to. The person might take more and more of the drug in order to feel its effects, therefore building up a tolerance which eventually leads to addiction.

According to the NLM, “narcotics work by binding to receptors in the brain which blocks the feeling of pain.” This is also why people who take larger doses of narcotics feel high and euphoric. These symptoms can become addictive, and the drugs themselves begin to change the way the brain works. Soon, a person will crave these feelings and continue to take more of the drug, even if it has led to unfavorable consequences.

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

Symptoms of Narcotic Addiction

Some of the symptoms that point to narcotic addiction are:

  • Apathy toward other responsibilities
  • The strong desire to do more of the drug
  • Drug-seeking behavior, or putting oneself in danger in order to obtain more narcotics
  • Thinking about narcotics even when not taking them
  • Changes in mood and behavior that last even when the individual is not taking the drug
  • Physical symptoms such as:
    • Physical dependence leading to withdrawal symptoms
    • “Slowed physical activity” (DOJ)
    • High tolerance for pain
    • Constipation
    • Nausea and vomiting

There are many issues involved with the use of narcotics. This is especially true if the individual is abusing these drugs. Addiction, though, takes over the person’s ability to see this, to the point that he or she will continue to abuse narcotics even if the consequences outweigh the positives. Addiction is serious and can become worse the longer it goes untreated. Someone who is addicted to narcotics should seek formal treatment.

the Take-Away

An addiction to narcotics can develop out of repeated use of narcotic drugs. It can lead to many health consequences, as well as job loss, relationship problems and more.