-- Question: What Is A Narcotic And When Might I Need One?
Answer: Narcotic is a legal term. In medicine, we refer to opioids or morphine-like substances rather than using the term narcotic, but it's generally used by the public. Narcotics or opioids are generally used for moderate to severe pain. In the emergency department, this is one of the drugs we use most commonly because patients generally come to us with severe pain. Oftentimes in the post-operative setting after surgery, people are treated with narcotics or opioids to control pain until the body heals.
For chronic pain syndromes, narcotics or opioids are used in a long-term fashion, usually by primary care practitioners or pain physicians to help treat resistant pain problems.