Are Narcotics Opioids?

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Most individuals will refer to any type of drug as a narcotic, whether it is prescription, illegal, or falls into the category of drugs that are likely to be abused. However, the term narcotic actually covers the same substances as the term opioid, that is to say, drugs derived from or synthesized from opium.

What Does the Term Narcotic Mean?

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “The term ‘narcotic’ comes from the Greek word for stupor.” This is because the drugs in this category cause an individual to become extremely relaxed and experience a high that “dulls the senses and relieves pain.” Although many people refer to all drugs by this term (especially illegal drugs), only those that are also considered opioids are actually narcotics. Therefore, narcotics and opioids are one in the same.

Which Drugs are Considered to Be Narcotics?

There are a number of drugs that are considered to be narcotics as well as opioids. Legal or illegal status does not change the labeling of these substances, as they all fall under this category. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these drugs include:

  • Illegal Substances
    • Heroin
    • Opium
  • Legal Substances
    • Codeine
    • Fentanyl
    • Hydrocodone
    • Dihydrocodeinone
    • Hydromorphone
    • Meperidine
    • Methadone
    • Morphine
    • Oxycodone
    • Oxymorphone

All of these substances are considered narcotics while drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and others are not (though they are sometimes falsely referred to as narcotics). Though the legal substances can be taken through a doctor’s prescription for the treatment of pain and other issues, these drugs can still only be taken legally when prescribed to a patient by a doctor.

How Can I Recognize a Narcotic?

Are Narcotics Opioids?

There are numerous prescription narcotics.

It is important to always ask your doctor about the medications you are taking and to make sure you understand the possible side effects the drug may cause. According to the National Library of Medicine, narcotics can cause side effects such as drowsiness, impaired judgment, itchiness, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and withdrawal symptoms, especially if you have been taking the substance regularly for several weeks or more.

Narcotics are usually prescribed to treat pain and must be handled carefully. This is because regular use can lead to tolerance and dependence, which can sometimes cause addiction if the individual begins to abuse the drug. In some instances, hydrocodone and codeine may be prescribed in combination products to treat severe cough.

You can usually recognize narcotics by their common side effects and the fact that they cause relaxation, pain relief, and physical and psychological dependence. Make sure to always talk to your doctor before beginning a treatment regimen with a new medication and especially make sure that you know how to safely take opioids under a doctor’s care.

Do You Want to Learn More About Narcotics/Opioids?

If you want to learn more about how to safely use narcotics under a doctor’s care or if you believe you may already be abusing or addicted to these drugs, call (800) 407-7195(Who Answers?) today. We can help you determine what step to take next in your treatment and/or recovery process.

the Take-Away

Find out what illegal and legal substances are considered narcotics and opioids.