Codeine Addiction

in Drug Insights
Published Oct 26, 2020

Codeine is a prescription medication used to treat mild to moderate pain and to reduce persistent coughing. As an opioid drug, however, it has a tendency to be misused. Due to its euphoric effects, codeine is a commonly abused drug that can cause dependency and even codeine addiction. 

What is codeine?

Codeine is an opioid narcotic. While less potent than other opioids like morphine or fentanyl, codeine is still a commonly abused drug and can be habit forming. Codeine works by altering the brain’s perception of pain. The tablet form of codeine is available in 15mg, 30mg, and 60mg tablets — patients should follow the guidance of their physician in choosing the appropriate dose. Codeine is also available with other drugs, such as Tylenol, and/or guaifenesin which is used for ongoing breathing problems.

Codeine is available in pill form for pain, and in a liquid to suppress coughing.

Street names for codeine include: Captain Cody, schoolboy, Lean, Purple Drank, Sizzurp, T2, T3, T4, doors  & fours, loads, pancakes and syrup. Brand names for codeine include: Empirin with codeine, Fiorinal with codeine, Guiatuss AC, Poly-Tussin AC, Robitussin A-C, and Tylenol with codeine. 

You can read more about codeine on our drug insights page, on codeine.

Codeine addiction

Just like taking other opioids, regular use can lead to developing a tolerance to codeine fairly quickly. This might look like needing to take more of the drug to have the same effect. Codeine doesn’t necessarily need to be abused for a tolerance and even dependence to occur. However, it is a drug that is commonly abused and people can develop codeine addiction.

One may initially take codeine for legitimate reasons, but over time may be inclined to take more to deal with all types of pain. Due to its euphoric effects, users may enjoy the feelings of calmness and pleasure and begin to take the drug recreationally, or to deal with uncomfortable feelings. When taken regularly in this way, an addiction to codeine may occur.

One way to determine if a person has developed a tolerance or addiction to codeine is if they experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. These may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills and/or goosebumps
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Runny nose
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Aches and pains
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Yawning
  • Insomnia

Withdrawal typically lasts for a week but it may be longer depending on the quantity and regularity of use. As with all opioids, it is best to seek professional advice before stopping any medication, especially if you think you may have developed a dependence. 

How to deal with codeine addiction

If you or your loved one are struggling with codeine addiction, you do not have to suffer alone.

At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we bring compassion to the commotion. Peace to the pain. Empowerment to the powerless. If you or someone you know needs support with addiction problems, bring us your battle. Call us today and take the best, first step towards recovery: 720-704-1432