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A relative of morphine, and slightly less potent, codeine still holds addictive and powerful properties. Today, it is used and abused worldwide. In the United States, the leading cause of accidental death is drug overdose. This epidemic is being driven by opioid addiction.

Every year, approximately 33 million people utilize codeine. In a four-year span, an increase of 152% in emergency room visits had something to do with painkillers. Nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers has been reported by approximately 4.7 million Americans – this includes codeine.

Technically, the prescription opioid pain reliever referred to as codeine falls within a class of drugs that also includes heroin, fentanyl, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and others. All have significant street value, being sold by illicit dealers, and are abused to some extent.

What is Codeine?

Used to treat mild to moderate pain, the prescription pain medication referred to as codeine is the main ingredient in cough suppressants which are prescription grade. It can also come in tablet form. Additionally, combined with acetaminophen, codeine is found in another popular pain reliever known as Tylenol 3. Make no mistake, codeine is a narcotic.

There are several nicknames for codeine including the following:

  • T-three’s
  • Coties
  • Schoolboy
  • Cough syrup

How do people use codeine? As just referred to, it is frequently found in cough syrup and used for pain. It has also been used in the past to treat diarrhea. It can be combined with other pharmaceuticals, under the supervision of a doctor.

Codeine can also be found in something referred to as “Purple Drank”. Made by mixing soft drinks (Mountain Dew, Sprite, etc.) with prescription-grade codeine cough syrup, it is a recreational drink that is by no means legal. It goes by several nicknames as well, such as the following:

  • Sizzurp
  • Syrup
  • Lean

This mixture is so prevalent in pop culture that it has found its way into songs of certain artists.

What are the Side Effects of Codeine Addiction?

In general, can cause the following:

  • Overdose
  • Brain damage
  • Liver problems
  • Heart attack
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Hypothermia
  • Respiratory depression
  • Death

In general, a physical dependence can be caused by the use of codeine and other opiate-based pain killers. Addicts will have a hard time quitting codeine and other opiates cold turkey. The following are some side effects of withdrawal:

  • Pain
  • Irritability
  • Chills
  • Muscle spasms
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Craving

To lessen side effects and their severity, under the supervision of a healthcare professional, long-term users should reduce their codeine medication use gradually.


Understanding Codeine Overdose

Individuals who may have overdosed on codeine could exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Breathing problems (shallow breathing, labored breathing, slow breathing, or no breathing at all)
  • Confusion
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Bluish lips and fingernails
  • Weakness, fatigue, and drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Flushed skin
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness (or loss of consciousness/coma)
  • Weak pulse, low blood pressure… and more

How to Treat Codeine Addiction

If the following symptoms are noticed in an individual, they may have developed an addiction to codeine:

  • Stealing medications, prescriptions, and money from others
  • Lying about their use of codeine and how frequently they use it
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Increased hospital visits

Codeine can be a steppingstone to other drug usage. If an addiction to codeine is present, the abuser should do everything in their power to kick the habit before they graduate to other forms of opiates, etc. Under the supervision of a medical professional, there are numerous methods and programs by which addiction can be beaten.

Why Work with Spark To Recovery?

Nurses, medical psychiatrists, and certified and licensed addiction counselors are included in the professionals at Spark To Recovery. We assist individuals in motivation and education. We can help them achieve lasting recovery and a healthier lifestyle. Particularly during detox, recovering addicts need support. That’s why we are here.

Start your codeine addiction therapy today. Call Spark To Recovery at 818-849-5467 today if you want to schedule an appointment with us.

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