Narcotic abuse


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Narcotic abuse

  1. 1. A problem of well-being
  2. 2. • Narcotic abuse is a type of substance abuse. Substance abuse can be defined as, “an abnormal pattern of substance usage leading to significant distress or impairment,” (, 2013). • The medical definition of a narcotic is: A drug derived from opium or opium-like compounds, with potent analgesic effects associated with significant alteration of mood and behavior, and with the potential for dependence and tolerance following repeated administration. (, 2013)
  3. 3. • Narcotics are classified under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA), which classifies narcotics as having high misuse potential (Lilley, Harrington, & Snyder, 2007, p.49). • Narcotic abuse can create both physical and psychological dependences. A physical dependence is reflected by tolerance to the effects of a substance and withdrawal symptoms when the substance is terminated. Psychological dependence refers to behaviours related to obtaining and using a substance. (Lilley, Harrington, & Snyder, 2007, p.867)
  4. 4. • Health Canada regards substance abuse as a serious health issue resulting in economic, social, and public safety consequences for Canadians. • In Canada, heroin remains the most misused drug after marijuana, with heroin addiction afflicting an estimated 60 000 to 90 000 Canadians. • Canada has now surpassed the United States as being the TOP CONSUMER of opioids in the world. (Paperny, A., 2013) • Heroin was banned in 1908 due to its abuse potential, and several synthetic opioids have followed in its wake. This has led to much concern about overprescription. (Lilley, Harrington, & Snyder, 2007, p.87)
  5. 5. • The result of opioid abuse is brief intense euphoria, followed by a few hours of a relaxed state. This causes the user to “chase the high” • OxyContin, a synthetic opioid, has now been banned in Canada and has been replaced by OxyNEO, a version with less abuse potential. Since OxyContin has been discontinued, restrictions on coverage for OxyNEO have also been put into place. • There is great concern regarding addicts, and those in remote and/or First Nations’ communities, seeking stronger substances (i.e. Fentanyl). (Kirkey, S., 2012)
  6. 6. • Of all addictions, prescription drug abuse is perhaps the most insidious. It is often taken innocently for pain relief, and without extreme caution, can turn into addiction. • Prescription drug abuse, more than street drugs, transcends social class and occupations. • When in search of the drug, people who have never been in trouble with the law previously may be involved in criminal activity. • Or worse, their drug abuse, even experimenting, can be lethal. (Youtube, 2013)
  7. 7. • Global news reported on the increase of Fentanyl abuse since the ban of OxyContin, and its effect on Canadian families: (Youtube, 2013)
  8. 8. • Narcotic abuse can be explained by several sociological theories, including conflict theory, Marxist conflict theory, Symbolic Interactionist, and Structural-Functionalism • Narcotic abuse can be explained by conflict theory in that: …the heavy, chronic abuse of crack and addiction to heroin are strongly related to social class, income, power, and locale. A significantly higher proportion of lower- and working-class inner-city residents abuse hard drugs than is true of more affluent members of society. (, 2013) From this perspective, the more affluent members of society may view those abusing drugs as people who don’t want to contribute positively to society, and are therefore “in conflict”
  9. 9. • Marxist Conflict Theory recognizes that many social problems arise out of poverty (Mooney, L.A. et. al., 2013, p.13). This is often the case with substance abuse as it often occurs more frequently among the impoverished as a means of coping. However, narcotic abuse appears to transcend class boundaries. (, 2013) • Symbolic Interactionism also explains narcotic abuse in that the behaviour may be perpetuated in those who believe there is nothing better for them to do and/or grow up in an environment in which substances are depended upon. • Lastly, Structural-Functionalism would recognize narcotic abuse as a social problem which causes dysfunction in society (i.e. break-andenters, sudden death, heartache for parents and families) (Mooney, L.A.,, 2013, pp. 11-15)
  10. 10. • One solution to the increasing abuse of narcotics is to lift the ban on OxyContin. This would, in theory, deter people from going after Fentanyl patches in which the delivered dose is unable to be ascertained. (Goodman, 2013) • Another solution is to increase access to methadone to assist addicts in staying clean. • Many family members of those who have died from narcotic abuse are going public with their stories to prevent further fatalities. (Gallant, 2013) • The amount of narcotics that are prescribed by each physician is already monitored by Health Canada. (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2013).
  11. 11. • • • • • • • • • • Gallant, J. (2013 August 01). Fentanyl use by opioid addicts on the rise. The Toronto Star. Retrieved from, ml Goodman, L. (2013 November 27). Health Canada approves addictive form of oxycodone as U.S. urges ban. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from, Kirkey, S. (2012 March 1). OxyContin's removal could cause whole new set of problems. Retrieved from uld+cause+whole+problems/6229543/story.html Lilley, L.L., Harrington, S., & Snyder, J.S. (2007). Pharmacology and the nursing process in Canada (1st Canadian ed.). Toronto, ON: Elsevier Canada (2013). Theories of addiction. Retrieved from Mooney, L.A., Holmes, M., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2013). Understanding social problems (custom ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education Ltd. Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2013). Ontario’s Narcotics Strategy. Retrieved from Paperny, A. (2013 March 26). Canada’s the world capital of potent opioids, and that makes its neighbour nervous. Global News. Retrieved from (2013). Retrieved from Youtube. (2013 January 28). Clear Addiction: New opiate patch could lead to abuse. Global News. Retrieved from