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The use of narcotics as a sedative; to relieve pain, coughs, and dysentery; and as drugs of addiction has a long and troubled history in the West and in the United States in particular. These drugs, beyond being merely useful, are irreplaceable in modern pain management and have transformed the lives and realities of those experiencing chronic pain, such as victims of cancer and degenerative bone disease. Regrettably, it is that very effectiveness that makes this class of drug attractive to recreational drug users and to those who may be self-medicating or purposefully overmedicating. When used clandestinely, these drugs provide euphoria, sedation, and a sense of warmth and relaxation. On the other hand, they can produce constipation, mood swings, respiratory depression, overdose, addiction, and ...

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