What is Codeine?
Codeine is a well-known prescription drug that is commonly known as Tylenol 3 in North America. Codeine falls into the category of opiates and is turned into morphine by the body in order to be utilized properly. Codeine is derived from the opium poppy and is related to morphine and heroin.
The purpose of Codeine is to relieve pain and anxiety. This drug, like other opiates, not only has the potential to depress breathing but can depress other body systems as well.
Side effects of codeine include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Urinary retention
Like any other drug, tolerance can result after consistent use of medication, this includes therapeutic effects. How quickly this occurs depends on the metabolism of the individual. In addition, the different side effects tolerance may develop at different rates. As with other opiates, a serious probable adverse reaction is respiratory depression.
Another very common side effect is decreased libido (lack of sexual drive). Codeine is known to interact negatively with certain psychiatric medications, so prior to administration it is advisable to check with a physician. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to codeine, which has been known to cause swelling of skin and rashes.
The Easy to Find Drug
Recreational use of codeine occurs often mainly because it is very easy to obtain. Codeine can be obtained either over the counter in low doses or through prescription combination drugs. Reasons for using Codeine include experiencing the euphoric effects associated with opiates.
It is common practice for individuals wishing to obtain a high to drink cough syrup straight or by taking a combination of pills whole or crushed mixed with water as this allows faster absorption into the body. Codeine can also be extracted by using methods such as cod water extraction.
The dosage at which codeine is safe is from 10-60mg at once. However, when Codeine is used recreationally it is between 60mg to 400 mg in one shot. If an individual uses more than 400 mg in one shot, it exceeds the amount of drug the liver can metabolize at once which means that it will be wasted.
In order to get the full effect of the drug, it is recommended to take Codeine all in one dose as opposed to taking it gradually over a long period of time. Codeine can be taken orally, rectally (via the anus) and can be given as a shot. It should never, however, be snorted, smoked or injected intravenously.
Using Codeine recreationally is dangerous on many different levels. Some of the more dangerous side effects include the following:
- Misuse can and will lead to: dulling type effect, a lack of co-ordination and dulled responses.
- Dependence: this can occur within two to three weeks of use and can lead to both physiological and psychological addiction.
- Respiratory depression: improper doses of Codeine can lead to an individual ceasing breathing.
- Combination of acetaminophen with codeine can lead to hepatotoxicity or liver damage.
- Combination of codeine with ibuprofen can cause kidney problems and even lead to kidney failure.
- Combination of aspirin and codeine can lead to internal hemorrhaging, particularly bleeding of the stomach.
There are some countries where cough syrups and tablets that contain codeine are available without prescription. It has been reported that in France approximately ninety five percent of the consumption of Codeine cough medication is attributed to non-medical use. In fact, it is common for individuals trying to reduce the effects of withdrawal by using Codeine.
Treatment for Codeine Addiction
Like any other opioid addiction, treatment should be immediate. Addiction to Codeine encompasses more than just the drug addiction. If an individual is addicted to Codeine, there is most likely a physical and psychological dependence involved as well. If a friend or loved one is displaying odd behavior and codeine addiction is suspected, intervention is recommended. Otherwise as noted above, many different body systems can be affected and in severe cases Codeine addiction could even lead to death. There are many available and effective treatment programs that can address this serious problem.
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