Narcotics, commonly referred to as opioids, are psychoactive drugs with sleep-inducing properties. For a long time, people have been using and abusing narcotics in some form or the other. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 2.1 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder in 2016. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) states, “The abuse of opioids, a group of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers, has a devastating impact on public health and safety in this country.”
Fortunately, narcotic addiction treatment is available and those in the grip of these potentially lethal substances can overcome addiction. However, it is important to seek treatment at the earliest to attain timely recovery and return to routine life soon.
Types of narcotic drugs
Derived from the opium plant that grows in various locations worldwide, narcotic drugs are commonly used to relieve pain and experience euphoria. They act by reducing the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affecting those brain areas that control emotions, which, in turn, diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus.
While our bodies naturally produce certain endogenous opioids like endorphins, those produced outside the body are exogenous opioids and can be extremely addictive. These opioids are available for oral consumption, smoking or intravenous use.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies opioids as Schedule I, Schedule II or Schedule III, depending on their medical benefits and addictive properties.
Some common types of narcotic drugs include:
Symptoms of narcotics abuse
Opioid intoxication can be lethal. Some common symptoms of its intoxication include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Respiratory depression
- Dry secretions
- Slurred speech
When one tries to withdraw from narcotic drugs, he/she may experience a number of withdrawal symptoms that may not be life-threatening but are physically excruciating. Some of these symptoms are:
- Dilated pupils
- Gastrointestinal pain
- Intense muscle pain
- Excessive sweating
Seeking treatment for narcotics addiction
Treatment for narcotics addiction focuses on alleviating the painful withdrawal symptoms that one might experience on reducing or stopping the use of these drugs. The treatment begins with detoxification treatment offered under the guidance of experienced professionals. Experts recommend specialized narcotics detox treatment at any of the licensed narcotics detox centers. This helps the recovering individuals in getting their bodies free of the accumulated toxins at the soonest possible and breaking free from the cycle of addiction.
Once the detox program gets over, medications, such as Suboxone, help ease the pain. Suboxone is one of the most commonly used medications, available in tablet form as well as a film, which dissolves when placed under the tongue. This medication is helpful in suppressing cravings and withdrawal symptoms related to opioids. When taken under supervision, it also helps in overcoming opioid dependence.
Another medication used commonly for narcotics addiction treatment is methadone, which is available in the form of a tablet, liquid as well as an injection. It relieves withdrawal symptoms, helps in detox and works well as a long-term maintenance medicine for opioid dependence.
Experts also recommend naloxone to individuals suffering from acute opioid overdose. Available for use as an injection and nasal spray, the drug has a very short duration of action and causes symptoms of opioid withdrawal almost immediately after administration.
To prevent relapse, experts sometimes even recommend the use of naltrexone, which is easy to use and is available in the form of both pill and injection.