The term ‘narcotics’ is used loosely to describe all drugs, but the true meaning is a drug which comes from opium. These ‘opiates’ are used for many reasons in hospitals, especially morphine, the painkiller that is used after surgery. They are used routinely for the patient’s comfort and ease of healing.
Of course the drug is meant to be a short-term help for patients dealing with extreme pain, but in many cases this use can end in addiction. This is a sad reality… that something used to help us can ultimately be our undoing. However, this does not happen in all cases, and many are able to come off the drug when the extreme need passes.
The word narcotic comes from the Greek, and the meaning is ‘to benumb.’ And it certainly does numb one to everyday life. It is believed that the Greek physician Galen was the first to use this word. He said that mandrake root, and altercus seeds were the foremost examples of agents that would deaden or numb one. So even in ancient times these narcotics were in use.
It is interesting that these days tobacco is included under the umbrella of narcotics, and many medical experts are also naming alcohol, which was once categorized as a stimulant, as a narcotic. These are all addictive substances, and once a person starts down that road there is no turning back. Intervention is needed, and the sooner it starts the better the result.
Opium, or its synthetic replacement, is derived from the poppy plant, and there is a huge business transporting it from overseas to other countries. Cocaine, heroin, and morphine, are examples of the drugs that come under the heading of narcotics. Heroin and cocaine are often fatal addictive narcotics, and morphine is extremely addictive. Illegal drugs are a fabulous money-maker for the seller and they are not apt to change their ways just because many die as a result. The market for illicit drugs has been, and will continue to be, a very lucrative one.
In these times the categorizing of a drug as a narcotic leads to more severe penalties for violating the drug laws. These laws are made for the protection of the population, but laws alone are not enough to stop the addictive personality from dabbling in narcotics. The term narcotic is used these days to speak about any illicit street drugs.
Treatment centres are excellent places to send the substance abuser. They are clean, well-maintained places which can bring a sense of help and support to the abuser. They are not prison-like fortresses where one is subjected to harsh treatment and punishment. They are staffed by professionals who understand the mind of the patient and their utter dependence on drugs.
The world today is in an unbalanced state, and many turn to illicit drugs for the comfort they believe they give. It is difficult for some people to cope with the threats abounding in our society, and they believe that a drug that induces stupefaction can relieve their fears and stresses. The opposite, of course, is true. The numbing of one’s senses is of no use in combatting fears and stress. Perhaps for the first few times it feels as if the drug is doing that, but after that the situation becomes more serious, possibly even fatal.