Codeine Addiction: Everything You Need to Know

Codeine is a narcotic medication used to treat minor to severe pain. This moderately strong opiate comes from an opium poppy plant that is in the same family as the drugs heroin and morphine. Doctors typically prescribe codeine in pill form and it is often combined with other over-the-counter medications such as aspirin. Similar to other narcotic drugs, codeine can quickly become addictive. Because of this, a prescription must be obtained from a doctor in order to get products containing codeine.

An addiction to codeine can have a devastating effect on your life. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to the drug, there is help available. Contact our Codeine Addiction Hotline today, 800.447.9081.

In the United States, opiate drugs are being abused at an alarming rate. An addiction to codeine is a serious problem and the consequences of this addiction can be lethal.

What Does Codeine Do?

When Codeine is used as directed, it can be a very effective pain reliever. Alternatively, when it is used in high doses, the drug can create a euphoric or “high” feeling. This is what draws many drug abusers to codeine. Codeine abusers often mix it with alcohol or other substances for an enhanced effect.

Signs & Symptoms of a Codeine Addiction

Codeine addiction can be difficult to identify. This is especially true in cases where users are not aware they are using the drug. If you suspect that you or someone you love has become addicted to codeine, here are some signs to watch for:

  • Cravings. A craving for codeine is one of the earliest detectable signs of a developing addiction.
  • Obsession. Obsessive behavior such as thinking about the drug even when you are not using it, or considering alternative ways to obtain codeine.
  • Lying. Lying about or faking symptoms in order to get a codeine prescription.
  • Frequent doctor’s visits. Making frequent trips to the doctors office to try and get a codeine prescription.
  • Over-usage. Using more than the prescribed amount of the drug can be an early sign of addiction.
  • Using old prescriptions. Keeping prescription codeine that has expired or is no longer needed.
  • Dishonesty. Lying to family or friends about codeine use.
  • Neglecting responsibilities. Neglecting family, work or social responsibilities in order to use the drug.
  • Inability to stop. Failed attempts to stop using the drug.

Effects of Abusing Codeine

The side effects of using Codeine can range form mild to severe. They include:

  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Seizures
  • Kidney or liver damage (when taken for extended periods of time)

In addition to these side effects, codeine use may also develop into a psychological and physical dependence. Users may quickly build a tolerance for the drug that may drive them to use higher doses or take the drug more frequently than recommended to get the same effect. This increased tolerance will often lead to abuse or addiction of the drug.

Codeine Statistics

According to the National Institutes of Health, the abuse of codeine costs the United States an estimated $500 billion a year. This includes related healthcare costs, lost wages, legal expenses, traffic accidents and crime.


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