It depends on who you ask. In medicine "narcotic" is becoming an antiquated word or deemed more of a law enforcement term (although many Drs still use the term, many are getting away from it because it brings to mind illegal activity and really isnt proper when speaking of medicines) Drs are being taught to use words like "opioids" for medications that are derived from poppy plant alkaloids or derived synthetically to work on opiate receptors in the brain to relieve pain/addiction. Law enforcement pretty much considers any drug that alters consciousness as a narcotic-cocaine, PCP, heroin, prescription pain relievers, benzodiazepines, marijuana, LSD among others and many of these are not medically considered "narcotics". When narcotic was a medical term it was mainly used for opiate (natural alkaloids) and opioid (synthetically derived)drugs-drugs like codeine, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, methadone, hydrocodone among others. Those should be termed "opioids" instead of narcotics when used as medicine. So it is easy to see why the term "narcotic" is so confusing because it means different things to different people. The definition from a dictionary of narcotic is 1. producing stupor. 2. A drug that produces stupor, complete insensibility, or sleep as opium, chloral and cannibis. There are three main groups: the opium group which produces sleep, the belladonna group which produces illusions and delirium, and the alcohol group which produces exhilaration and sleep.
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