Is Codeine Legal Or Illegal?

Codeine is classified as an opioid or a narcotic, and in the U.S., in particular, there is a huge crisis occurring because of opioids. Opioids are contributing to addictions, overdoses, and deaths throughout the country, and there’s a lot of emphasis being put on the importance of curbing opioid abuse.

With that being said, a question people have is often “is codeine illegal,” and below is an overview regarding the legal status of codeine.

Is Codeine Illegal | Is Codeine Legal Or Illegal?
First, codeine is an opioid that’s given to relieve pain ranging from mild to moderate. It’s similar to morphine and when someone takes it, and it reaches their brain it converts back to morphine. Then, once it reaches that point, the morphine binds to opioid receptors, and it changes how the user senses pain.

Along with being a pain reliever codeine can also cause feelings of drowsiness, relaxation and even euphoria. It’s less potent than a lot of other opioids that are commonly abused, but still has the potential for abuse and addiction, primarily because of the way it causes users to feel high.

If you follow your doctor’s dosage instructions when using codeine, you’re less likely to become addicted, or physically dependent, but it’s still possible.

So, is codeine legal or illegal?

Codeine is classified as a legal narcotic, and it’s a schedule II drug in most formulations, although some formulations may have even looser restrictions placed on it by the federal government.

Schedule I drugs don’t have currently accepted medical uses in the U.S., they aren’t viewed as safe, and they have a high potential for abuse. Heroin is a schedule I drug in the U.S, as an example.

A schedule II drug is a classification outlined by the Controlled Substances Act, which divides drugs into groups, based on how likely they are to be abused, and how harmful they can be. Schedule II drugs do have a high potential for abuse according to the classifications and can lead to psychological addiction or physical dependence.

Along with codeine, other Schedule II drugs include hydromorphone, oxycodone, and morphine.
Some forms of codeine are classified as Schedule III controlled substances, meaning they have a lower risk of dependence, physically or psychologically. Schedule III drugs include certain formulations of hydrocodone and buprenorphine, as well as products that don’t have any more than 90 milligrams of codeine in a dose, such as Tylenol with codeine.

Some formulations of codeine can even be schedule V, which means they have a low potential for abuse in general. For example, any cough medicine with no more than 2000 mg of codeine per 1000 milliliters or per 100 grams is considered schedule V. This can include things like Robitussin AC.

So, is codeine legal or illegal?

Codeine is legal because it has accepted medical uses. It’s classification as a controlled substance ranges from schedule II to schedule V, and this is based on factors such as how much codeine is contained in a combination drug formulation.

Overall codeine is legal, but you still need a prescription for it, and you should always follow your physician’s instructions when taking it.

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