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Narcotics, or opiates, bind to specific opioid receptors in the CNS and elsewhere in the body. These receptors mediate the opiate effects of analgesia, euphoria, respiratory depression, and constipation. Endogenous opiate peptides (enkephalins and endorphins) are natural ligands for the opioid receptors and play a role in analgesia, memory, learning, reward, mood regulation, and stress tolerance.
The prototypic opiates, morphine and codeine, are derived from the juice of the opium poppy. The semisynthetic drugs produced from morphine include hydromorphone (Dilaudid), diacetylmorphine (heroin), and oxycodone (OxyContin). The purely synthetic opioids and their cousins include meperidine, propoxyphene, diphenoxylate, fentanyl, buprenorphine, tramadol, methadone, and pentazocine. All produce analgesia and euphoria as well as physical dependence when taken in high enough doses for prolonged periods of time.
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Loscalzo, Joseph, et al., editors. "Narcotic Abuse." Harrison's Manual of Medicine, 19th ed., McGraw Hill Inc., 2017. harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623127/all/Narcotic_Abuse.
Narcotic Abuse. In: Loscalzo J, Jameson JL, Longo DL, et al, eds. Harrison's Manual of Medicine. 19th ed. McGraw Hill Inc.; 2017. https://harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623127/all/Narcotic_Abuse. Accessed April 21, 2019.
Narcotic Abuse. (2017). In Loscalzo, J., Jameson, J. L., Longo, D. L., Hauser, S. L., Fauci, A. S., & Kasper, D. L. (Eds.), Harrison's Manual of Medicine. Available from https://harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623127/all/Narcotic_Abuse
Narcotic Abuse [Internet]. In: Loscalzo J, Jameson JL, Longo DL, Hauser SL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, editors. Harrison's Manual of Medicine. McGraw Hill Inc.; 2017. [cited 2019 April 21]. Available from: https://harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623127/all/Narcotic_Abuse.
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ED - Kasper,Dennis L,
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DB - Harrison's Manual of Medicine
DP - Unbound Medicine