What Is Codeine?

a bottle of codeine being dosed into a spoon

What is codeine? It’s part of a highly addictive class of drugs called opioids. During the early 2000s, codeine became increasingly popular in hip-hop music and among young people. While the medication is useful for some people in short-term prescription doses, chronic use can cause addiction and several dangerous side effects.

By evaluating each patient’s individual needs, Northpoint Washington’s staff of professionals works to develop a plan that will bring about a successful recovery. Through individualized, evidence-based treatments, Northpoint Washington helps patients to understand the risks of codeine addiction and develop the skills and resources needed to stay sober. Contact us at 425.437.3298 to learn more about our codeine addiction treatment program and how Northpoint Washington can help.

What Is Codeine?

This widely used drug is an opioid medication and a derivative of the opium poppy plant used to treat mild to moderate pain and relieve cough symptoms. It can sometimes be found in combination with other medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, in some over-the-counter cough syrup brands. Codeine is more commonly available as a prescription medication in extended-release forms.

However, codeine is also a potentially addictive substance. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to physical and psychological dependence if used over a long period of time or in large amounts.

How Does Codeine Cough Syrup Work?

Codeine works by interacting with opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, which can help to reduce the perception of pain and increase feelings of relaxation and pleasure. When codeine is taken in the form of cough syrup, it can help to suppress the cough reflex by inhibiting the activity of certain nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for triggering coughing.

Risks Associated with Codeine Use

While codeine can be effective in relieving pain and cough, it can also carry a number of risks, especially when it is used improperly or taken in high doses. Some of the risks associated with codeine use include:

  • Drowsiness and sedation – Codeine can cause drowsiness and impaired judgment, which can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Respiratory depression – Codeine can slow down breathing, which can be especially dangerous for people with pre-existing respiratory problems or those who are taking other medications that can also cause respiratory depression.
  • Constipation – Codeine can cause constipation by slowing down the movement of the intestines.
  • Addiction and dependence – Codeine is an opioid medication, and like all opioids, it has the potential for abuse and addiction. People who use codeine frequently or in high doses may develop a physical dependence on the drug, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.
  • Overdose – Codeine can also cause an overdose, which can be fatal. Symptoms of a codeine overdose may include difficulty breathing, confusion, drowsiness, and constricted pupils.

Understanding codeine and the risks associated with its use are key components in the fight against codeine addiction. At Northpoint Washington, we understand that addiction is a treatable condition, and we are committed to helping individuals and families find a path to lasting recovery.

Drug Dependence Treatment at Northpoint Washington

Now that you know the answer to “what is codeine,” it’s time to find help if you need it. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug dependence, treatment is available at Northpoint Washington, a leading provider of substance abuse and mental health treatment services in the Pacific Northwest. Our experienced team of therapists and counselors can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals.

Our program includes a range of evidence-based treatments, such as group therapy and medication-assisted detox. If you are ready to take the first step on the path to recovery, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about our drug dependence treatment program at 425.437.3298.