Whenever I come across the above words , I miss take them. How could I distinguish between them in a simple manner?


Opioid are medications that relieve pain and they are compounds resembling opium in addictive properties or physiological effects.

Narcotics are any drugs (including opium) that can be used either medicinally to relieve pain or illegally to get pleasant effects.


I could not find better words to describe this topic and hence am pasting the content here as-is.

Briefly, dictionaries typically define “narcotic” as a drug that in moderate doses dulls the senses, relieves pain, and may induce sleep, but in excess causes stupor, coma, convulsions, or death. Often, narcotic drugs are described as capable of producing addiction. At one time, “narcotic” pertained only to opium or its derivatives, but the term was usurped by government agencies dating back more than a century ago to include cocaine, as well as illicit forms of drugs in the sedative, stimulant, and hallucinogen classes (interestingly, although cannabis, or marijuana, was traditionally demonized it was never included in the narcotic category). Thus, “narcotic” has legal and regulatory implications extending well beyond the medical aspects of these drug classes, particularly opioids.

“Opioids” is an umbrella term that incorporates opiates, which includes drugs derived directly from opium (eg, codeine, morphine), as well as a range of synthetic or semisynthetic morphine-like drugs. Unfortunately, many uninformed writers and speakers often use the term “opiate” when they actually are referring to the broader family of opioids, but this might be viewed as a relatively minor affront.

By far, the greater transgression is using “narcotic” in reference to legitimate, prescribed opioid analgesics. In common lore, and as supported by the above research studies, the term “narcotic” has become strongly associated with both legal and illicit drugs that can be harmful and/or addictive. Thus, the term not only elicits fear among patients, but it also raises a spectre of evil-doing among healthcare professionals who prescribe “narcotic drugs” for these patients.

The full article is here.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.