Narcotics may be defined as agents that lessen the relation of the central nervous system to external as well as internal conditions of the body. They act by freeing the mind more or less from the thraldom of the senses, and therein lies their value as well as their danger. It is the "ease and ignorance" with which one may be relieved of a great multiplicity of symptoms by means of narcotics that makes their use an ever present temptation to patient and physician alike; and it is only by patients foreswearing self-medication and by physicians adopting certain definite rules regarding their employment that the abuse of narcotics can be guarded against.
Thus, narcotics should never be employed to remove a diagnostically indispensable symptom. As an illustration, the old and well worn warning against the use of opium in appendicitis at once comes to the mind. In a case of
FANTUS B. THE INDISPENSABLE USES OF NARCOTICS: THE ABUSE OF NARCOTICS. JAMA. 1931;96(20):1691–1693. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.27220460012008a
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