narcotic

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narcotic,

any of a number of substances that have a depressant effect on the nervous system. The chief narcotic drugs are opiumopium,
substance derived by collecting and drying the milky juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Opium varies in color from yellow to dark brown and has a characteristic odor and a bitter taste.
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, its constituents morphinemorphine,
principal derivative of opium, which is the juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. It was first isolated from opium in 1803 by the German pharmacist F. W. A. Sertürner, who named it after Morpheus, the god of dreams.
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 and codeinecodeine
, alkaloid found in opium. It is a narcotic whose effects, though less potent, resemble those of morphine. An effective cough suppressant, it is mainly used in cough medicines. Like other narcotics, codeine is addictive. See drug addiction and drug abuse.
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, and the morphine derivative heroinheroin
, opiate drug synthesized from morphine (see narcotic). Originally produced in 1874, it was thought to be not only nonaddictive but useful as a cure for respiratory illness and morphine addiction, and capable of relieving morphine withdrawal symptoms.
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.

See also drug addiction and drug abusedrug addiction and drug abuse,
chronic or habitual use of any chemical substance to alter states of body or mind for other than medically warranted purposes. Traditional definitions of addiction, with their criteria of physical dependence and withdrawal (and often an underlying
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.

Actions and Uses

In small doses narcotics have valuable medical uses, numbing the senses, relieving severe pain, and inducing sleep. They are also given preoperatively to relieve pain and anxiety. Common side effects include constipation, nausea, and allergic reactions. In large doses narcotics can be highly dangerous, causing stupor, coma, convulsions, or death. All narcotics are addictive; several morphine derivatives as well as chemically dissimilar narcotics that have been developed for medical use have fewer side effects and are less addictive than morphine, but they are also generally less potent. Unlike general anesthetics such as etherether,
any of a number of organic compounds whose molecules contain two hydrocarbon groups joined by single bonds to an oxygen atom. The most common of these compounds is ethyl ether, CH3CH2OCH2CH3
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 and chloroformchloroform
or trichloromethane
, CHCl3, volatile, colorless, nonflammable liquid that has a sweetish taste and a somewhat pungent odor; it boils at 61.7°C;. It dissolves freely in ethanol and ether but does not mix with water.
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, narcotics depress the respiratory center and in low doses relieve pain without inducing sleep. Respiratory depression occurs in newborns whose mothers have been given narcotics such as meperidine (Demerol) during labor. Narcotics differ from barbituratesbarbiturate
, any one of a group of drugs that act as depressants on the central nervous system. High doses depress both nerve and muscle activity and inhibit oxygen consumption in the tissues. In low doses barbiturates act as sedatives, i.e.
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 and other sedativessedative,
any of a variety of drugs that relieve anxiety. Most sedatives act as mild depressants of the nervous system, lessening general nervous activity or reducing the irritability or activity of a specific organ.
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 in that they have no anticonvulsant action; also, narcotics relieve pain, while sedatives do not.

Attempts at Control

There are strict controls on narcotic prescription and administration in the United States. Nevertheless, addiction to narcotics, especially heroin, which has no legal use, continues to be a serious problem. There have been nationally and internationally based attempts to control the production of narcotics and to limit their export and import to medical use only. Large quantities are nonetheless grown in SW Asia (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan), in SE Asia (the "Golden Triangle" region of Myanmar and Thailand; cultivation in Laos was largely eradicated in 2005), Lebanon, Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala, and a large illicit traffic in these substances continues.

Bibliography

See publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

Narcotic

 

a substance of plant or synthetic origin whose abuse leads to narcomania. In Soviet medicine the term “narcotic” is also applied to substances used for anesthesia.

In addition to narcotic plants and their derivatives (the opiates; Cannabis indica and its derivatives, hashish and marijuana; Erythroxylon coca and its alkaloid, cocaine; cola, betel, and maté leaves), narcotics also include alcohol, synthetic morphine analogs, and psychotomimetics. Narcomania may result from the abuse of barbiturates, central nervous system stimulants (am phetamines and others), and other drugs that act on the nervous system.

V. V. PARIN

Soviet criminal law provides punishment for the making and supplying of narcotics and other potent, toxic substances. For example, according to Article 224 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, the making and supplying of narcotics may be punished by imprisonment of up to ten years, with or without confiscation of property. Theft of narcotics is punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, with or without confiscation of property. Criminal responsibility is also specified for planting opium poppy, Indian hemp, and southern Manchurian or southern Chu hemp without appropriate permits. Penalties exist for violating laws concerning the storage, distribution, registration, transport, and sending of narcotics, as well as for involving minors in the use of narcotics.

Several international agreements deal with efforts to control the spread of narcotics. At the International Conventions of 1912, 1925, 1931, 1936, and 1945, special control was placed on the manufacture and distribution of narcotics and on the smuggling of opium, morphine, and cocaine. The 1948 Protocol placed the newest narcotics under international regulation. The International Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs exercise general supervision over the international traffic, production, and distribution of narcotics. The USSR participates in most of these conventions for the control of narcotics.

narcotic

[när′käd·ik]
(pharmacology)
A drug which in therapeutic doses diminishes awareness of sensory impulses, especially pain, by the brain; in large doses, it causes stupor, coma, or convulsions.

narcotic

any of a group of drugs, such as heroin, morphine, and pethidine, that produce numbness and stupor. They are used medicinally to relieve pain but are sometimes also taken for their pleasant effects; prolonged use may cause addiction
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