As a preliminary to the therapeutic employment of narcotics, it is advisable or necessary to consider what is understood by the term narcotics and how they produce their beneficial effect. There is no generally accepted definition or classification of the narcotic drugs, except, perhaps, that they are included in a group producing varying effects on the nervous system. In this comparatively large group are found not only narcotics but also hypnotics, soporifics, anesthetics, analgesics, antispasmodics and several other subgroups, more or less closely related in several respects but with some distinguishing characteristic.
The physiologic effect of opium and its derivatives depends in part on the particular preparation that is employed, as well as on the amount of the drug. In general terms it may be said that small amounts produce an exciting effect while in larger doses there is an analgesic action and in sufficient dosage hypnosis, coma and even
TICE F. THE INDISPENSABLE USES OF NARCOTICS: IN THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. JAMA. 1931;96(12):944–946. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.27220380004011
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