Codeine is a lesser known problem in the United States than it is in many other countries around the world. The prescription grade opiate is typically found in cough syrups and medications, along with painkillers. In other countries, codeine can be purchased over the counter in pill form or cough drops, which has led to an opiate crisis of its own. Though codeine is more difficult to come by in America, it can still pose a threat to mental and physical health, as well as lead to an addiction.
What Is Codeine?
Codeine is a form of opiate which originally derives from the opium poppy plant. Much like oxycontin, morphine, or hydrocodone, codeine is a highly potent, highly addictive narcotic substance. Used to treat mild or moderate pain as opposed to severe or extreme pain, codeine is often mistakenly considered a less threatening form of opioid medication.
How Does Codeine Work?
All opioid based medications work by metabolizing into morphine, which is a natural byproduct created in the body. After an opioid like codeine enters the bloodstream, it eventually makes its way to the liver where it will be broken down and metabolized. Opioid products turn into morphine in the liver, then process through the bloodstream as morphine. Morphine interacts with the opioid receptors in the brain signaling pain relief, relaxation, analgesia, and when taken in high doses, euphoria.
Why Is Codeine Abused?
Like any other opioid, codeine is abused for its muscle relaxation effects as well as the sensations of euphoria it can provide. Whether in pill form or cough syrup, codeine is abused in many ways. Hip hop and rap music has been known to glamorize the use of codeine cough syrup in conjunction with other drugs. Some rap stars have been hospitalized or notoriously known for their abuse of or addiction to codeine. Since codeine is a relatively “mild” opiate, it is considered to be an enhancer to the use of other drugs, causing more intoxication.
Why Is Codeine Addictive?
Simply put, codeine is addictive because it is an opioid substance. Opioids produce strong effects. When abused in high quantities, opioids also create a large amount of dopamine production in the brain, which is a primary brain chemical in the neurobiology of addiction. Creating both a physical and mental dependency, men who regularly abuse codeine in high quantities run the risk of becoming addicted. As is the danger in any opioid addiction, codeine addiction can lead to a fatal overdose.
Men can find freedom from addiction. By creating sustainable changes, men create a sustainable recovery for their lives. Call Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon for information on our men’s treatment programs for addiction: (855) 969-5181