Stupor, drowsiness, or insensibility; the illicit production and use of drugs.
[Greek narkē, numbness.]
The first sense appears in narcolepsy (created on the pattern of epilepsy), a condition in which a person has an extreme tendency to fall asleep; the state of narcosis is of stupor or unconsciousness, usually induced by drugs; hence a narcotic is, in medical usage, a drug which induces this state. In the early part of the twentieth century this last word developed a broader sense of an illegal drug that affects mood or behaviour. This has given rise to a number of terms, such as narcoterrorism, terrorism associated with the trade in illicit drugs, narco-trafficker, a person who deals in such drugs, narcodemocracy or narco-state, a country whose leaders are in collusion with drugs producers or dealers.