A Study On Narcotics Biology Essay

Published:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Narcotics consist of Morphine, Heroin, Methadone, and Codeine. These drugs are very addicting. Lots of people stand clear of these drugs because they are afraid they will become addicted. If some gets caught with drugs you need to make sure a forensic chemist runs a test to verify that substance is in fact an illegal drug. The forensic chemist and the individual that collected the evidence need to make sure they don't contaminate the substance. Also, they need make sure the chain of custody isn't broken. If you don't have this evidence, or a mistake is made your outlook in court may not be that great.

One type of narcotic is Opium. Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Opium contains approximately 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine. The traditional method of obtaining the latex is to scratch ("score") the immature seed pods (fruits) by hand; the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that is later scraped off. The modern method is to harvest and process mature plants by machine. "Meconium" historically referred to related, weaker preparations made from other parts of the poppy or different species of poppies. If you consume an over-abundance of poppy seeds your drug test can pop positive for heroin use. (Dubey, Shasany, Dhawan, Shukla, & Khanuja, 2010)

Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic drug that is used to relieve severe pain. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by him in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more widely used after the invention of the hypodermic needle in 1857. It took its name from the Greek god of dreams Morpheus. (Jonsson, 1988) Morphine is the most abundant alkaloid found in opium, the dried sap (latex) derived from shallowly slicing the unripe seedpods of the opium, or common and/or edible, poppy, Papaver somniferum. Morphine was the first active principle purified from a plant source and is one of at least 50 alkaloids of several different types present in opium, poppy straw concentrate, and other poppy derivatives. Morphine is generally 8 to 14 percent of the dry weight of opium although specially bred cultivars reach 26 percent or produce little morphine at all, under 1 percent, perhaps down to 0.04 percent. (Kapoor, 1995) The latter varieties, including the 'Przemko' and 'Norman' cultivars of the opium poppy, are used to produce two other alkaloids, thebaine and oripavine, which are used in the manufacture of semi-synthetic and synthetic opioids like oxycodone and etorphine and some other types of drugs. P. bracteatum does not contain morphine or codeine, or other narcotic phenanthrene-type, alkaloids. This species is rather a source of thebaine. (Vincent, Bare, & Gentner, 1977) Occurrence of morphine in other Papaverales and Papaveraceae, as well as in some species of hops and mulberry trees has not been confirmed. Morphine is produced most predominantly early in the life cycle of the plant. Past the optimum point for extraction, various processes in the plant produce codeine, thebaine, and in some cases negligible amounts of hydromorphone, dihydromorphine, dihydrocodeine, tetrahydro-thebaine, and hydrocodone (these

compounds are rather synthesized from thebaine and oripavine). The human body produces endorphines, which are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters and have similar effects. (Oswald, 2000)

In clinical medicine, morphine is regarded as the gold standard, or benchmark, of opioid analgesics used to relieve severe or agonizing pain and suffering. Like other opioids, such as oxycodone, hydromorphone, and diacetylmorphine (heroin), morphine acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Morphine has a high potential for addiction; tolerance and psychological dependence develop rapidly, although physiological dependence may take several months to develop. ("Morphine Sulfate")

The most commonly abused of all narcotics is heroine. Heroine is known on the street as smack, horse, H, junk, or scag. Heroin is a morphine derivative, and morphine is opium's most potent active ingredient. First synthesized in 1874, heroin was widely used in medicine in the early part of the 20th Century, until its addictive potential was recognized. (Newman, Vann, May, & Beardsley, 2002)

Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Street heroin may vary in color from white to dark brown because of impurities or additives. There is a dark brown or black form of the drug, as dense as roofing tar or coal, known as "black tar." Produced in Mexico, it is widely available in the western United States. (Newman, Vann, May, & Beardsley, 2002)

Street heroin is rarely pure. A "bag," or single dose, may contain 50 milligrams of powder. In the past, very few of those milligrams were likely to be heroin-most of the bag was filled with such additives as milk sugar, powdered milk, or quinine. In 1980, the average bag was only 4 percent pure heroin. By the mid-Nineties, however, purity was generally 40 percent or higher. In the Northeast, it averaged between 60 and 75 percent. When prescribed, narcotics are most often taken by mouth. Heroin, however, is generally inhaled or injected, although it may also be smoked. (Newman, Vann, May, & Beardsley, 2002)

The behavioral impact of habitual heroin use is generally devastating. Most habitual users are incapable of concentration, learning, or clear thought. Rarely are they able to hold a job. They are apathetic, indifferent to consequences, and unable to sustain personal relationships. (Newman, Vann, May, & Beardsley, 2002)

Codeine is another type of narcotic. Codeine or 3-methylmorphine (a natural isomer of methylated morphine, the other being the semi-synthetic 6-methylmorphine) is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, antidiarrheal, antihypertensive, antianxiety, sedative and hypnotic properties, to suppress premature labor contractions, myocardial infarction, relief of skin irritation from itching, as well as many other uses. Codeine is the second-most predominant alkaloid in opium, at up to three percent; it is much more prevalent in the Iranian poppy (Papaver bractreatum), and codeine is extracted from this species in some places although the below-mentioned morphine methylation process is still much more common. It is considered the prototype of the weak to midrange opioids (tramadol, dextropropoxyphene, dihydrocodeine, hydrocodone). Codeine is used to treat mild to moderate pain and to relieve cough. (Gasche, Daali, Fathi, Chiappe, & al, 2004) Codeine is also used to treat diarrhea and diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome. ("Codeine")

Common effects other than analgesia associated with the use of codeine include euphoria, itching, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dry mouth, miosis, orthostatic hypotension, urinary retention, depression, constipation and coughing. As with all opiates, longer term effects can vary but can include diminished libido, apathy and memory loss. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to codeine, such as the swelling of skin and rashes. (Alberta Health Services, 2007)

Last but not least you have methadone. Methadone (also known as Symoron, Dolophine, Amidone, Methadose, Physeptone, Heptadon and many other names) is a synthetic opioid, used medically as an analgesic and a maintenance anti-addictive for use in patients with opioid dependency. It was developed in Germany in 1937. Because it is an acyclic analog of morphine or heroin, methadone acts on the same opioid receptors as these drugs, and thus has many of the same effects. Methadone is also used in managing severe chronic pain, owing to its long duration of action, extremely powerful effects, and very low cost. Methadone was introduced into the United States in 1947 by Eli Lilly and Company. (Joseph, Stancliff, Langrod, 2000)

Methadone is useful in the treatment of opioid dependence. It has cross-tolerance with other opioids including heroin and morphine, offering very similar effects and a long duration of effect. Oral doses of methadone can stabilize patients by mitigating opioid withdrawal syndrome. Higher doses of methadone can block the euphoric effects of heroin, morphine, and similar drugs. As a result, properly dosed methadone patients can reduce or stop altogether their use of these substances. (Connock, Juarez-Garcia, & Jowett, 2007)

Methadone is approved for different indications in different countries. Common is approval as an analgesic and approval for the treatment of opioid dependence. It is not intended to reduce the use of non-opioid drugs such as methamphetamine, or alcohol. (Connock, Juarez-Garcia, & Jowett, 2007)

Remember in order to convict someone of drug possession make sure you get a lab test done. When a forensic chemist picks up a drug specimen for analysis, he or she can expect to find just about anything. The analysis must not leave any room for error, because the results will have a direct bearing on the process of determining whether the person is guilty or innocent of a crime. There isn't any middle ground in drug identification either the specimen is a specific drug or it's not. If the chemist determines it is positive, the chemist must be prepared to support and define the validity of the results in the court of law. Another very important thing to remember is not to break the chain of custody when it comes to collecting and submitting evidence. Once the chain of custody is broken and/or the evidence is contaminated the court will withdrawal that evidence. (Saferstein, 2011, pg.204-205)

Drug use isn't a walk in the park nor is the treatment. Narcotics consist of Morphine, Heroin, Methadone, and Codeine. These drugs are very addicting. Lots of people stand clear of these drugs because they are afraid they will become addicted. If some gets caught with drugs you need to make sure a forensic chemist runs a test to verify that substance is in fact an illegal drug. The forensic chemist and the individual that collected the evidence need to make sure they don't contaminate the substance. Also, they need make sure the chain of custody isn't broken. If you don't have this evidence, or a mistake is made your outlook in court may not be that great.

Writing Services

Essay Writing
Service

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing
Service

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision
Service

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.