Codeine (Codeine Phosphate) is the most widely used narcotic in the world. Commonly known as Tylenol 3, it falls into the category of opiates and is metabolized like morphine through glucuronic acid. This opioid occurs naturally. Additionally, individuals use it to treat mild to moderate pain and cough suppression. However, some people use codeine recreationally. Also, sizzurp has become very popular in the hip hop community. Made with a combination of prescription strength cough syrup, Jolly Ranchers candy and a soft drink. Some people refer to the drink as Purple Drank, Lean and Syrup.
Why do people use Codeine
Medical professionals prescribe this drug for the relief of moderate pain and cough suppression. Furthermore, compared to Morphine, this drug produces less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression. Additionally, prescription recipients usually take it orally. Pharmaceutical companies commonly add this drug to other painkillers or muscle relaxers. Medical professionals prescribe codeine in doses up to 60 mg. However, they advise to take no more than 240 mg in 24 hours.
Though it has less abuse potential than other opiates, it can be dangerous and may cause dependency if not used as prescribed. Codeine is generally less potent than morphine. However, one can synthesize the opioid from morphine or extracted from opium, making it easy and cheap to produce. Furthermore, this contributes to an increased risk of codeine addiction. An increased tolerance to codeine commonly contributes to its addictive nature.
What are the Side Effects of Codeine Usage
Prolonged use of this drug can result in side effects, such as dependence and psychological addiction. When consumed in large amounts, the combination of the active ingredients such as codeine, promethazine and antihistamine, can produce a induced high with sleepy and dazed effects. It is highly addictive and it has a host of serious risk, sometimes life threatening.
- Dry mouth
- Lack of sex drive
Additionally, known side effects include dizziness and drowsiness, which can worsen with alcohol consumption.
Severe allergic reactions can occur, such as:
- Breathing trouble
- Tightening of the chest and tremor
In fact, if allergic to any ingredients in Codeine or other opiates, do not take it. It’s also not recommended for those with severe high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat or other heart problems.
Although some countries make it available without a prescription. In the U.S., it is approved for pain, cough, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- Sleeping problems
Although withdrawal from this drug is relatively mild when compared to other opiates. In order to minimize the effects of withdrawal, it is recommended to gradually reduce the use of the drug with the help of a healthcare professional.
How to Spot Codeine Abuse
Abuse might be hard to detect, because many patients start out with prescribed dosages and under medical guidance, and are unaware that tolerance is developing. The risk of dependence increases with long term usage of the drug. Most patients will develop a certain key characteristics such as, but not limited to:
- Increase dosage to achieve same effect
- Fixation on obtaining more of the drug
- Continue use, regardless of medical needs
- Angry and frustrated when unable to acquire the drug
- Seeking different prescribing doctors and pharmacies
- Feeling withdrawal symptoms when reducing or no longer taking the drug
To summarize, as with other opiates, Codeine is used recreationally and can be abused for the high it produces. Consequently, opiate detox can be difficult to overcome and may require medical supervision.