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Narcotic Use Disorder

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

Narcotic use disorder (NUD) is a medical condition that develops from long-term use or misuse of a narcotic. You are not able to stop taking the narcotic even though it causes physical or social problems. NUD may be use of a narcotic such as heroin or misuse of a prescription narcotic such as fentanyl. This disorder is also called narcotic abuse.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may be given the following medicines to help reduce withdrawal symptoms during detoxification:

  • NSAIDs decrease pain and fever.
  • Blood pressure medicine decreases symptoms of withdrawal. These include nausea, vomiting, muscle tension, and anxiety.
  • Antianxiety medicine decreases anxiety and helps you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Antinausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Antacids decrease stomach acid.


  • Detoxification is the process of decreasing your dose of narcotics. You will also be given medicine to decrease your withdrawal symptoms.
  • Maintenance therapy means your healthcare provider prescribes another type of narcotic to replace the current narcotic.
  • Therapy may include work with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or drug counselor. Therapy can happen in group or individual sessions. Some therapy may include family members. A support group is a way to get help from others who have NUD. Your healthcare provider or therapist may be able to help you find a support group in your area.


There is a risk of overdose during early treatment with methadone.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.