A narcotic is any drug that contains opium, opium derivatives and semisynthetic or synthetic substitutes. Certain narcotics are prescribed by physicians for the treatment of pain, cough suppression and acute diarrhea, as well as to relieve anxiety, tension and aggression, while many other narcotic drugs are available only through the illegal dug market.
Narcotics typically produce feelings of euphoria. Despite their euphoric effects, however, narcotics also cause many unpleasant side effects, including drowsiness, apathy, inability to concentrate, nausea and vomiting, constipation, itchy skin and respiratory depression. Because many narcotics are available only through the illegal drug market, users face an increased risk of infection, disease and overdose associated with these substances. Specifically, narcotic users are at increased risk of experiencing medical complications caused by the adulterants found in the drugs, as well as from unsafe injection practices. In addition, users are at risk of experiencing unpredictable and often fatal consequences of use, since it is difficult to determine the purity level of a drug purchased "on the street."
Narcotic drugs are extremely addictive, both physically and psychologically.