How Do I Know If Someone Is On Codeine?

A prescription opiate, codeine is used to treat pain that ranges from mild to moderate. It’s most frequently used in cough medicines, but also treatments for diarrhea. As compared to many other opioid painkillers, codeine is considered to be relatively weak. It has properties that are similar to morphine, but it’s much less potent. It’s also usually combined with something such as acetaminophen or aspirin to make it more effective.

Despite the fact that it’s not considered a strong opioid painkiller, it has the potential for abuse and addiction.

There are dozens of different types of codeine formulations available, and many times people are prescribed a medication that contains this substance without even being aware they’re taking it.

Some of the many brand names of drugs that may include codeine include:

  • Fioricet with codeine
  • Cotabflu
  • Tylenol with Codeine #3
  • Phenflu CD
  • Maxiflu CD
  • Nalex AC
  • Colorex Compound
  • Pediatuss

Again, this is just a small sample of the common brand name drugs that contain codeine, and most are for the treatment of a cough, and cold and flu symptoms.

Along with treating mild to moderate pain and also coughing, codeine also tends to be calming and act at least somewhat as a sedative when it’s taken.

how do i know if someone is on alcoholic
Abusing cough and cold medicine is a problem, including not just codeine but other drugs that are both prescription and over-the-counter.

These drugs can be used in tablet form, as capsules or as syrups, and sometimes when people are abusing these drugs, they mix them with soda to improve the flavor. They may also be abused along with other drugs such as marijuana or alcohol.

When someone takes cough and cold medicines as instructed, it alleviates their symptoms, however, when people are abusing them, and they don’t have the symptoms they’re meant to treat, their brain is affected differently. Also, many individuals who abuse drugs like codeine will take much higher doses than what prescriptions indicate.

When someone abuses codeine, it attaches to their brain’s opioid cell receptors, in a similar way to what illicit opioids do. When someone is on codeine and takes a higher recommended dose than what’s used for therapeutic purposes, it can lead to feelings of euphoria, similar to what happens with other opiates.

The situation for people who are on codeine and abusing the drug can become very serious when they use not only more than the therapeutic dose, but significantly more. Individuals who are abusing codeine may actually use several times more than the safe amount.

Some of the visible signs someone is on codeine can include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems with focus and concentration
  • Lack of judgment
  • Lack of coordination
  • A sense of apathy

When people take large doses of codeine, the feelings they experience are often similar to being intoxicated from alcohol, including an altered sense of consciousness.

While the above are some of the general signs of someone being on codeine, there can be other negative physical and mental side effects of using this drug. Some of the other short-term side effects of being on codeine can include nausea and vomiting, being extremely confused or drowsy, having dry mouth and constipation.

If someone takes a very high dose of codeine, it can lead to slowed breathing, a drop in heart rate, and a decline in blood pressure.

If someone overdoses on codeine it can lead to loss of consciousness, respiratory failure or cardiac arrest.

Other signs of a codeine overdose that may occur include pinpoint pupils, shallow breathing, a slow pulse, vomiting or chest pain.

The signs someone is on codeine that are listed above can occur with using more than the therapeutic dose of the drug even one time. There are also signs that someone may be using codeine chronically. Long-term signs of codeine abuse can include:

  • Insomnia and nightmares
  • Pain when not on codeine
  • Seizures

The long-term abuse of codeine can also lead to liver damage.

One of the biggest dangers of being on codeine is the fact that since it isn’t as potent as other opioids, people have to take very large doses to get the euphoric effects, and that leads to an even faster likelihood of overdosing. They also tend to take much higher amounts of the drug very quickly to achieve the results they want, and this boosts the chances of an overdose as well as extreme medical complications that can come along with that including decreased lung function, organ damage, coma and even death.

As with other drugs, when someone is on codeine they can become physical dependent on it, and that carries with it lifestyle signs of substance abuse as well.

For example, when people are on codeine for a prolonged period of time they may start to experience financial and relationship problems as well as a decline in performance at school or work. Since codeine is a prescription drug, people may also start doctor shopping to get the drug.

With codeine, there can also be problems that it can serve as a gateway to the use of other strong and even more dangerous opioids.

One of the first signs you should be aware of if you’re wondering if someone is on codeine is if they currently have a prescription, but they’re not taking it as instructed by their doctor. The initial signs of abuse of a prescription drug like codeine often include taking a larger amount than what’s prescribed with each dose and then starting to take it more often than what they’re directed to for therapeutic purposes. Also, obtaining codeine illegally without a prescription, such as from a friend or family member, is always considered abuse.

There is a dangerous misconception that codeine isn’t as serious as other opioids, but it carries with it the risk for addiction and dependence as well as severe consequences and death. If you think you see signs someone is on codeine, it’s important to learn more about the drug, research the signs of abuse, and if you think a problem is present in someone close to you, contact an addiction specialist or facility who can help you determine the next step that you should take.

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