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What do narcotics do to the body?

Narcotics act on the nervous and digestive systems in the body to control pain, relieve diarrhea and suppress coughing. When prescribed for pain relief, narcotics are usually taken by mouth. Narcotics slow body functions such as circulation, breathing and digestion. They cause your blood vessels to relax and your heart rate to slow, lowering blood pressure. Narcotics make you feel drowsy, groggy and confused. A common characteristic of heroin use is "nodding," a semiconscious state in which the person may appear to be nodding off to sleep.

Like most other drugs that are abused, narcotics can make you feel a sense of euphoria, contentment and physical relaxation. The "high" usually lasts about three to four hours. The more you use narcotics, the more tolerant your body becomes, requiring higher doses to achieve the same results. Eventually, the user reaches a plateau at which no amount of the drug is sufficient. When the user reaches this level, the person administers the drug just to delay withdrawal sickness.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.