Opioids are controversial narcotic drugs known for their powerful pain-relieving (analgesic) properties. The therapeutic benefits of opioids have been recognized for thousands of years, with the use of the opium poppy chronicled throughout human history.
Within the body, opioids work by binding to special receptors within the central and peripheral nervous systems and the gastrointestinal tract, where they block the perception of pain, decrease reaction to pain, and improve pain tolerance. In addition, certain opioids can be used to treat cough and diarrhea.
Conditions Related to Opioids
In spite of the risks of taking opioids, the properly managed, short-term medical use of these drugs is safe and rarely causes addiction. However, due to the dangers involved, opioids are not typically prescribed unless the provider feels the potential benefits outweigh the risks. In general, such indications include relief of pain from acute (short-term) conditions, surgeries and certain procedures. Opioids are not usually indicated for the management of chronic pain conditions, except in cases of palliative care (e.g., terminal cancers or degenerative diseases).
Although opioids produce beneficial effects in many patients, they elicit certain side effects. These may include sedation, respiratory depression, and constipation. Opioids may also produce euphoria, which motivates some people to use them recreationally. Unfortunately, tolerance and dependence can develop with prolonged opioid use, and abrupt discontinuation of opioids can cause an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome. Talk to your doctor about whether or not opioid medications can benefit your condition.
15,000+ People Die a year because they Accidentally or Knowingly Misused Opioids. Opioid Safety PSA: http://www.theacpa.org/Opioid-Safety-Public-Service-Announcement
Pain is the TOP Cause of Disability in U.S.
The following Statistics pertain to the Prescription Pain Pill epidemic:
• More Americans now die from drug overdoses than in car accidents, according to a new government report released last December. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/managing-your-healthcare/articles/2011/12/20/drug-overdoses-kill-more-americans-than-car-accidents-cdc
• Abuse of the drugs has been tied to overdose deaths, burglary of pharmacies and increased crime nationally.
• Prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs in the United States, following marijuana. http://www.painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx
The term “narcotics” is often loosely used. You hear it, and you think of all drugs that are considered either socially unacceptable or illegal, even products like legal bud. For example, many of our anti-drug laws use the word as a synonym for drugs. The term “narc” for narcotics agent is used to describe a law-enforcement official engaged in anti-drug efforts.
But when doctors use the term, narcotics has a much more limited meaning, referring to a distinct class of drugs. These differ markedly from the psychedelics such as LSD, or the sedative-hypnotics hhat include alcohol and barbiturates. And while many narcotics are indeed illegal and dangerous (such as heroin), others are prescription drugs that have a wide variety of medical uses, including pain relief and diarrhea control.
Narcotics work by binding to receptors in the brain, which blocks the feeling of pain. When used carefully and under a doctor’s direct care, they can be effective at reducing pain. Almost always, you should not use a narcotic medicine for more than 3 to 4 months.
NAMES OF NARCOTICS
- Fentanyl (Duragesic) — available as a patch
- Hydrocodone ( Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Morphine (MS Contin)
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, Percodan)
- Tramadol (Ultram)