Scientists Say: Narcotic

Narcotic (noun, “Nar-COT-ick”)

In medicine, the word narcotic refers to a drug that reduces pain, makes someone sleepy and gives them a feeling of euphoria. Narcotics include drugs such as codeine or heroin. They are also called opioids. While these drugs work well and are very important for medical care, they can also be addictive

Other drugs such as alcohol can sometimes be called narcotics as well. They also make people sleepy, reduce pain and make people feel good. The word “narcotic” comes from the Greek word “narkō-,” which means “to numb.”

Some people might use the word narcotic differently. In the United States, for example, drugs such as cocaine used to be called narcotics. That’s because the word “narcotic” once meant any drug that was forbidden. But cocaine doesn’t make you sleepy — in fact, it does the reverse. Now, the law classifies these drugs differently. But people still might say “narcotic” to mean any drug that is illegal.

In a sentence

People who are addicted to narcotics can be saved from an overdose by a drug called Narcan.

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