Narcotic Drugs: Uses and Side Effects

The Single Convention—UNODC classified and placed narcotic drugs under international control. The Single Convention restricts production, manufacture, export, import, distribution, trade-in, use, and possession of drugs only for medical and scientific purposes.

The statistical data publication includes the availability and use of narcotic drugs in various countries and territories. The publication of estimates and statistics on narcotic drug production, manufacture, storage, and utilisation intends to provide producing and manufacturing countries with information on future trends to encourage them to adjust their plans to maintain a balance between supply and demand.

What are narcotic drugs?

Narcotics refer to various substances that dull the senses and relieve pain. Earlier, people referred to all drugs as narcotics; however, narcotics are applicable to heroin, heroin derivatives, and semi-synthetic equivalents. These drugs are also known as opioids, which are more effective and cause less confusion about their meaning.

Narcotic drugs cause analgesia (pain treatment), narcosis (stunned or sleepy state), and addiction (physical dependence on the drug). Such drugs can cause euphoria in certain people.

Opioid pain relievers are another term for drugs, and they are primarily used to treat severe pains that other pain relievers cannot treat. When used with caution and under the close supervision of a health care provider, these medications can be beneficial in treating pain.

What do narcotic drugs look like?

Narcotic drugs are available in the form of injections, lollipops and syrups. Narcotics are categorised into groups based on whether they are derived naturally, synthetic, or semi-synthetic.

For example, morphine is a naturally generated narcotic drug obtained from the poppy plant.

Uses of Narcotic Drugs

Safe use of Narcotic Drugs

Narcotic drugs are prescribed to treat the following conditions:

  • Acute pain from injury or surgery
  • Short-term medical issues
  • Chronic pain or chronic diseases
  • Injury or diseases caused in the nervous system

The International Narcotic Control Board plays a critical role in providing raw materials for manufacturing all opiate-containing drugs. Simultaneously, the board works with governments to ensure a long-term balance between supply and demand for those commodities.

The study of data submitted by State Members reveals that the amount of narcotic material available for the manufacture of narcotic medications for pain relief is more than sufficient to satisfy the current demand as stated by the Government and that worldwide stocks are expanding.

Permitted drugs are majorly used for cancer-related pain or other medical conditions (surgery, delivery, etc.). However, some pain relief medicines are not issued in certain regions. Therefore, patients in such regions do not enjoy health benefits they are entitled to under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

However, in other countries, overprescribing narcotic drugs and their availability in quantities greater than those required for safe medical treatment may lead to diversion and abuse of those substances with negative consequences such as overdose and addiction.

Side Effects of Narcotic Drugs

Overdose of Narcotic drugs is a life-threatening medical condition causing symptoms such as:

  • Unconscious
  • Slow breathing
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety attacks

Narcotics are addictive, regardless of whether they are prescribed or heroin. The United States is currently in the throes of an opioid pandemic resulting from severe narcotic abuse.

Narcotics connect to opioid receptors and cause a surge of dopamine to the brain. Dopamine causes the brain to respond with a reward and reinforcement response, which leads to addiction. Opioid usage can provide euphoria or pleasant feelings. When people become hooked on opioids, it can damage every part of their lives.

The human body quickly develops tolerance to drugs and requires increasing dosages of the substance to achieve the intended effects. Tolerance to narcotics leads to addiction. When a person becomes physiologically reliant on opioids, they experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking them.

Opioid dependence renders quitting these drugs difficult. As a result of addictive characteristics, many doctors have begun reducing prescriptions and attempting to recommend alternatives for pain management.

List of Narcotic Drugs in India

The following is a list of drugs widely abused in India:

  • Codeine
  • Dextropropoxyphene
  • Dihydrocodeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Ketobemidone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Pethidine
  • Tilidine
  • Trimeperidine

Narcotic drug laws in India

The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, was enacted in India under the three United Nations drug conventions, also Article 47 of the Constitution. This Act outlaws the creation, production, trade, use, and distribution of narcotics and psychotropic substances, except for medical or research purposes.

Therefore, the government’s goal was to encourage their usage for medical and scientific purposes while limiting their diversion from legal sources and forbidding illicit transportation and abuse.

Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) entrusted the authority to numerous central and state law enforcement authorities to allow law enforcement to reach far and wide. The NDPS Act empowers central and state governments to issue notifications to any new class of officers in any department.

The NDPS Act distributes authorities and responsibilities. Section 9 of the act specifies several activities that the central government can regulate through rules, whereas Section 10 specifies several activities that the state government can regulate through rules. Therefore, the NDPS rules of the central and state government were enacted under the same act.


Most long-term heroin or other narcotic drug users follow a predictable progression from inhaling the drug to injecting it single dose, then a high dose. Each of these stages increases the likelihood of addiction. An overdose of narcotics can severely depress the central nervous system, resulting in respiratory failure and death.

Narcotics are some of the most potent pain relievers available but should be used with extreme caution due to their addictive properties. They are frequently given to cancer patients who are in extreme pain.

Because the possibility of terminal cancer patients living for long is remote, providing an acceptable quality of life may be an ethical issue. Narcotics drugs alleviate pain and ease the suffering, worry, fear, and panic associated with severe pain.


In what form are narcotic drugs available?

Narcotic drugs are available in the form of injections, syrups, and lollipops.

Is Opioid a Narcotic Drug?

An opioid is a type of pain medication that is typically referred to as narcotics.

What are the Indian Laws for Narcotic Drugs?

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985 came into force under Article 3 of the United Nations drug conventions.

What is the use of medication of narcotic drugs?

Narcotic drugs are used for medical purposes and function by connecting with opioid receptors in cells to relieve pain.

What are the causes of addiction to narcotic drugs?

Overdose of narcotic drugs damages the central nervous system and respiratory system and leads to death.

Criminal Law