Narcotics are classified as drugs that bring relief from pain or sluggishness. Unfortunately, the line between narcotics and illegal drugs has blurred and many illegal drugs are known as narcotics instead of what they truly are. One example used in our studies was cocaine. Cocaine is viewed as a narcotic, but is actually a stimulant that inhibits the central nervous system. Opiates are analgesic narcotics that help to ease pain by dejecting the central nervous system. One of the downfalls of continuous use of opiates is the formation of dependence upon the drug. Opiates are highly addictive and should only be used for short periods of time.
Morphine is an extraction of opium, which is then broken down to make heroin. Heroin can be used intravenously for maximum effect of the drug. A high induced from heroin usually leads to a very short lived euphoric state of mind. This altered state is what causes the addiction. Regular use can have dire consequences. Synthetic opiates are chemically altered narcotics created that have similar effects to opiates. OxyContin is a synthetic opiate that very much mimics the effects of heroin. This drug is administered for patients suffering from chronic pain. Methadone is another synthetic opiate.
This drug actually wanes the patient away from using heroin. Hallucinogens alter mood, attitude, thought, and perception. The most common hallucinogen is marijuana. Marijuana has been used for medical purposes throughout history. In a book written by Chinese emperor Shen Nung in 2737 B. C. , marijuana was used to help with “female weakness, gout, rheumatism, malaria, beriberi, constipation, and absent mindedness. ” The chemical in marijuana responsible for the hallucinations is called tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). It is important to know that marijuana does not cause any form of physical dependency what so ever.
Other hallucinogens to be aware of are: lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, phencyclidine (PCP), psilocybin, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy). These are synthesized drugs made in a lab that alter a person’s perceptions. These drugs alter a person’s mood, feelings of anxiety, and paranoia. PCP is known to cause depression, alienation, and aggression. Depressants are drugs that retard the functionality of the central nervous system. Depressants can be such things as; alcohol, barbiturates, antipsychotic or anti-anxiety drugs, and huffed chemicals. Alcohol consumption leads to intoxication.
Depending on the level of intoxication a person’s moods and perceptions can vary. Low levels of alcohol hinder judgment, memory, and concentration. Moderate doses of alcohol diminish coordination, restrain thought and speech patterns, and retards reaction times. High doses of alcohol causes irritability, anger, aggression, and in most cases leads to physical altercation. Barbiturates “downers” cause relaxation, euphoria, and sleep. They are known to quell the central nervous system. Barbiturates are usually taken orally. Usually sedatives and muscle relaxers that fall under the category of barbiturate.
Antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs differ from barbiturates because they do not alter thinking patterns or inhibit sleep. They produce a sense of serenity without any form of functional retardation. Stimulants speed up the central nervous system. Some examples of stimulants are: amphetamines, and cocaine. Use of these drugs gives a person a false sense of reality. The person tends to feel empowered, alert, untouchable. People that use cocaine usually uses it thinking that it will help to improve their mode of energy while working, which in reality, is not the case.
In order to obtain a conviction in a drug case the chemist’s report has have all information considered necessary to appropriately charge a suspect under the provisions of the existing law. The field investigator makes sure the evidence is properly bagged, sealed, tagged, and delivered to the lab. All packages must properly be labeled with the correct information so that proper identification of the evidence is readily available for future legal proceedings and to establish the chain of custody. Any background information supplied by the investigator will be a great help to the drug analyst in deciphering the drug’s identity.