Codeine - Drug Addiction

This is a member of the opiates family - which also include heroin, and is used as a mild painkiller. It appears in both prescription and over the counter drugs and is designed to control pain experienced from an illness, injury or following surgery.

However it is possible to develop a dependency on these drugs which then leads to an addiction.

What is ‘codeine?’ 

This substance naturally occurs in opium which itself is found in the poppy. It is a sticky substance found in seed pods of poppies and is used for its morphine-like effects.

Codeine and morphine are both found in the poppy plant but other opiates are produced artificially in laboratories. 

What does codeine do?

It is designed to ease pain and examples of this include analgesics and cough medicines, for example Ibuprofen (analgesic) and Benelyn (cough syrup). It is also found in several prescriptions medicines, e.g. Tylenol.

How is codeine used?

Codeine is taken orally as a tablet or capsule or in liquid form.

Who uses codeine?

Codeine is present in many prescription medications such as painkillers and in several over the counter drugs which include the two named above.

If you stop and think about how widely available Ibuprofen, Solpadine and Nurofen are then you will realise that many people have used or use codeine.

What are the effects of codeine?

Codeine is designed to relieve pain - whether that is acute or chronic although this is done with caution. Doctors and healthcare professionals are aware of the risks of addiction and so try and monitor usage of this on a regular basis.

Is it easy to become addicted to codeine?

It is a possibility. Codeine along with other opiates can cause a feeling of euphoria which the leads to dependence.

There is also the fact that it relieves pain: if you are in great pain and find that this drug eases it then you are likely to want further doses in order to control this pain.

The problem is when someone enjoys the pleasant effects of these drugs to the extent that they experience cravings when stopped. They soon develop a physical and mental tolerance to codeine which results in dependence.

Some people will try and obtain multiple quantities of this drug from various sources in order to have a maximum dose and effects.

Signs of a dependency or addiction include cravings, asking for repeat prescriptions on an ever increasing basis, experiencing withdrawal symptoms in between doses and feeling guilty about increased usage.

People who try and stop taking this drug often find that they experience symptoms that are similar to what the drug was originally prescribed to treat.

What are the risks of codeine addiction?

These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

The risks for this drug are very similar for those of prescription drugs.

If you want to know more about this subject then visit our prescription drugs section.


© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved