narcotics - There are many methods of pain control...

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There are many methods of pain control available to the medical profession today, the most effective of these are the narcotics. The term narcotic is often inappropriately used to refer to all currently illegal psychoactive drugs. For our purposes however, the term will refer only to opium, its derivatives, and related synthetic compounds; including but not limited to: morphine, heroin, codeine, paracodeine, percodan, percoset, demerol and dilaudid. The medical, ritual, and recreational use of narcotics has a long history. Opium was cultivated and used in Sumeria around 4000 BCE. It has had a prominent place in the pharmacopia of most old world civilizations for at least two thousand years. For all of its history narcotics have been, for the most part, freely available to anyone who wished to acquire them. The extensive restriction and regulation of the production, transport and distribution of narcotics is a very recent trend. The first law restricting the availability of narcotics in the U.S. was enacted in 1887. It outlawed importation and possession of opium by chinese persons (Lusane 1991). Narcotics remained legal for white Americans until the enactment of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 (Ibid.). Over the course of this century the degree of restriction, regulation and criminalization of narcotics (as well as most other psychoactive compounds) has reached a level widely regarded as excessive. The analgesic (pain killing) effects of narcotics result from their chemical similarities to endorphines, natural substances in the nervous system which tend to decrease the frequency and strength of nerve firings from pain transmitting pathways. After an extended exposure to narcotics the body no longer responds normally to endorphines. Simply put, the narcotic user needs narcotics to maintain a stable nervous system. The result is addiction. Addiction is a frequently misused term. In popular culture, one often hears of chocolate addicts, sex addicts, reefer addicts, TV addicts etc. To use the term in such ways belittles the seriousness of the condition. Addiction is a biological phenomenon which occurs on a molecular level in the addictOs cells (Herz et al. 1992). The withdrawal of narcotics causes physiological and affective distress until the addictOs body is able to return to normal functioning. Other effects of narcotics are drowsiness and lethargy (hypnosis), constipation, loss of loss of sexual drive, aversive response to alcohol, a decrease of anxiety, muscle tone and motor activity and euphoria (Ausubel 1958) Despite the unmatched efficacy of narcotics in treating most types of pain, they are grossly underused worldwide (Zenz, 1993, James 1993), due chiefly to three interrelated factors: regulatory practices, fear of, and ignorance about the risk of addiction, and a societal prejudice against euphoria producing agents other than alcohol. The production, transportation and distribution of narcotics is regulated to varying degrees in most of the developed and developing world through the
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This note was uploaded on 01/05/2012 for the course 101 melissa jo taught by Professor Acc101 during the Spring '11 term at Aarhus Universitet.

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narcotics - There are many methods of pain control...

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