AKA: CODIS500, COUGH SYRUP, NUROFEN PLUS/MAX, SYRUP.
What is codeine?
Codeine is an opiate drug used to treat mild to moderate pain. It is available either from doctors as a prescription only medicine or, directly from a pharmacy combined in lower doses with aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol. It is used to treat pain that does not respond to simple painkillers.
Someone who takes the combination painkillers containing codeine at higher than recommended doses in order to get a stronger codeine effect, can easily consume doses of aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol that could be fatal.
Codeine is available in tablet form, as a syrup (e.g. as a cough syrup) and as a solution for injection. It is normally swallowed. Some people misusing the medicine prefer to crush up the tablets and snort them, and some may try to inject them. Tablets of codeine can cost between £1 – £2.50 per tablet obtained from illicit sources.
Codeine is an opiate drug used to treat mild to moderate pain. On its own codeine is only available on prescription.
Smaller doses of codeine are in some medicines that can be bought without prescription in pharmacies.
Lower dose codeine is usually combined with other medicines such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin and are used for treating headache, period pain etc. that has not responded to simpler pain-killers.
Codeine-containing medicines carry warnings on the packs about the risk of addiction and advise that the non-prescription medicines should only be used for up to three days at a time without medical advice.
What are the effects of codeine?
Codeine has similar effects to the other opiates:
What are the risks of taking codeine?
Taking codeine does involve risks. Here’s what it could do to you.
If the codeine has been prescribed as a medicine (alone or mixed with other drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen), the purity will be very high and the doses consumed will be predictable. If you are not sure the tablets have come directly from a reputable pharmacy, you cannot be sure what is in them.
Can you get addicted to Codeine?
Yes, like all opiates, codeine is addictive.
Over time it can produce ‘cravings’ and a psychological desire to keep on using.
Tolerance can also build, so that users have to take more just to get the same effects or to avoid an unpleasant withdrawal.
Physical dependence is common in regular users. The withdrawal symptoms include nervous tremors, anxiety, yawning, sweating, runny nose, sleep disturbance, nausea, goose-bumps, restlessness, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and muscle spasms.
Codeine and the law
Small amounts of codeine are in some medicines which can be bought without prescription but only in pharmacies. These medicines include cough syrups, and tablets or capsules where the codeine is combined with other medicines, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin, for treating headaches, period pain etc. Codeine containing medicines carry warnings on the packs about the risk of addiction and advise that the non-prescription medicines should only be used for up to three days at a time without medical advice.
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