Dangers of Becoming Addicted to Codeine

Understanding the potential dangers of becoming addicted to codeine is best accomplished by learning some facts about codeine and how it affects the mind and body.

Codeine users total over 33 million in the US today.  Codeine is the most overly prescribed drugs on the market.  For these reasons, it is important that every teen and adult learn the warning signs and dangers of this commonly abused substance.

Why People Become Addicted to Codeine

Codeine is prescribed to treat pain. It is an analgesic/narcotic that is often combined with other drugs.  Many cough syrups and cold remedies contain codeine.  For example, some of the more commonly used and abused codeine combinations include:

Narcotic Analgesic Combinations: Used in treating headaches.

  • Fioricet with Codeine
  • Phrenillin with Caffeine and Codeine

Upper Respiratory Combinations:  Used for treating cold and cough symptoms, congestion.

  • Acetaminophen/Chlorpheniramine with Codeine Systemic

Narcotic Analgesic Combinations:  Used in treating pain, cough, osteoarthritis.

  • Tylenol with Codeine
  • Tylenol with Codeine #3
  • Tylenol with Codeine #4

Codeine produces relaxing, calming effects.  These effects are desirable to someone who wishes to use codeine recreationally or as a means to get high.  When abused or used in high quantities, these effects can become dangerous leading to decreased respiration and loss of consciousness.  There are many other dangerous side effects of using or being addicted to codeine as shown below:

Side Effects of Codeine Abuse

Minor side effects of codeine include drowsiness, dizziness, and a numbing sensation.  However, other side effects can indicate overdose or extreme sensitivity to the drug.  For example, if any of the following symptoms appear, contact a medical professional right away:

  • Change in consciousness
  • Bluish tinge to lips or skin
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Chest pain
  • No blood pressure or pulse
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat

Codeine is a depressant. It can slow a person’s breathing.  At high doses, codeine causes a person to stop breathing altogether.  Also, codeine overdose can cause seizures, coma, and death.

Products containing codeine are available by prescription only and are classified by the CSA as Schedule II controlled substances.  This classification indicates that codeine carries a high risk for abuse.

How Do People Obtain Codeine for Illicit Use?

Codeine addicts are creative in finding a means to obtain large amounts of the drug. Physicians and pharmacists are wise to these underhanded tactics and have created some control measures to impeded these transactions.  For instance, cough and cold remedies are available by obtaining them from the pharmacist.  Identification is required to purchase these products, and a detailed record is created.  Additionally, the purchaser can only buy a limited amount of the product in each transaction.

Unfortunately, desperation is the mother of invention.  The government establishes more restrictions, but the creative addict always finds a way to beat the system.  For instance, people on Medicaid know exactly which symptoms to tell the doctor to obtain a prescription for codeine.  Also, they tell the doctors that the medicine isn’t working and they need something stronger.

Codeine addicts buy the drug from dealers that have smuggled it in from Mexico.  Some dealers charge as much as $200 for an 8-ounce bottle of codeine syrup.  Lastly, some addicts purchase unfilled prescriptions from people who have obtained the prescription from a legitimate source.

Helping a Person Who is Addicted to Codeine

Learn to recognize the warning signs of someone addicted to codeine. If you suspect a friend or loved one is having a problem with the drug.  This action could mean the difference in saving someone’s life.  More information can be obtained by calling our toll-free number today.

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