Narcotic Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Narcotic, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Narcotic?

Drugs or substances that result in drowsiness and dulling of the senses.

History and Meaning of Narcotic

The term "narcotic" dates back to the 14th century and originally referred to any substance with a sleep-inducing effect. In modern times, "narcotic" typically refers to illegal drugs that have a high potential for addiction and abuse, such as opiates like heroin and prescription painkillers like oxycodone.

Narcotics work by binding to receptors in the brain and blocking pain signals, leading to feelings of euphoria and sedation. Because of their addictive nature and potential for overdose, narcotics are tightly regulated and often only available through a prescription.

Examples of Narcotic

  1. Heroin is a highly illegal drug that is classified as a narcotic. It is made from morphine, a natural substance found in the seedpod of the opium poppy plant.

  2. Prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin are also classified as narcotics because they contain opiate-based substances that are highly addictive.

  3. Codeine, a narcotic pain reliever, is often prescribed for mild to moderate pain but can be habit-forming if used incorrectly.

  4. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic narcotic that can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin and is responsible for many overdose deaths.

Legal Terms Similar to Narcotic

  1. Controlled Substance: A drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, or use is regulated by the government.

  2. Drug Classifications: Drugs are categorized into different classes based on their potential for abuse, medical use, and safety. The five drug classes are narcotic, depressant, hallucinogen, stimulant, and anabolic steroid.

  3. Schedule: The government designates five schedules for controlled substances based on their potential for abuse and medical use. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous and have no accepted medical use, while Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse and accepted medical use.