All About Narcotics!

Humans have used narcotic drugs for thousands of years, beginning in 4,000 B.C. Narcotics are substances used to dull the senses, suppress coughing, treat diarrhea, relieve pain and as anesthetics. Drugs in this category  include morphine, heroin, codeine, opium, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and methadone. Narcotics are highly addictive because they change the chemistry of the brain; by decreasing the perception of pain, they alter the body’s reaction to painful stimuli. The body also creates fewer endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer, because the effects narcotic drugs produce are far more intense.Some side effects of narcotic use include restlessness, loss of appetite, upset stomach, nausea, confusion, dry mouth, and difficulty breathing, and many more that vary upon a person’s personal overall health. Patients prescribed narcotic drugs can easily become dependent upon them.

As a Specimen Processor at a pain management office, I see the doctor write narcotic prescriptions for patients frequently. On one occasion, two patients who happened to be father and son both named John Doe, came into the office early in the morning. Later that day, a third male came into the office and also claimed to be the son, John Doe We were unable to locate his chart because to our knowledge, the patient had been seen earlier in the day. The patient consented to a urine collection and signed the requisition form as Patient X, his government name, instead of John Doe When asked who Patient X was, he curtly stated, “ I just need my oxycodone. I don’t know who Patient X is.” Later on, when we pulled Patient X’s actual chart, we discovered that he had been previously been dismissed from our practice for abusing narcotic drugs. He was very shaky and foaming at the mouth, which are signs of narcotic withdrawal. Patients prescribed narcotics must be closely monitored by a doctor to ensure safe use of them and to avoid possible addiction.

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