What is a Narcotic?
Opioids are technically categorized under the term narcotic. However, due to the negative association the term narcotic has with illegal drugs, it has fallen out of use in medical settings. The narcotic definition pertains to an agent that produces insensibility or narcosis. When thinking about these terms broadly, you can think of opiates as being a subclass of opioids, and opioids as a subclass of narcotics.
No matter what the medication is classified as or how it was created, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider before taking any drug, prescription or not. Your pharmacist can also be a valuable resource when trying to identify what class the medication is considered and whether the medication has any potential drug-on-drug interactions.
Legally in the U.S., barbiturates of all kinds are Schedule IV. Features of Schedule IV drugs according to the United States Controlled Substance Act include:
- There is a relatively low potential for abuse compared to substances that are classified as Schedule III
- The substance has a currently accepted medical use in the U.S.
- With abuse of a Schedule IV drug, there is a limited potential that physical or psychological dependence could occur