Can Codeine Found in Cough Syrup Still Be Addictive?

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Unfortunately, codeine found in cough syrups can still be addictive if a person abuses the drug often and in large doses. If you or someone you love is struggling with a codeine addiction, call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? now to find safe, effective rehab programs.

Codeine Cough Syrup and Its Abuse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, promethazine-codeine cough syrup is “a medication that contains codeine, an opioid that acts as a cough suppressant and can also produce relaxation and euphoria when consumed at a higher-than-prescribed dose.” This is why the abuse of codeine cough syrups is common just like the abuse of other drugs containing opioids. Unfortunately, even though it is only available by prescription, it is often easier for young adults and teens to obtain the drug than it is for them to get painkillers, which is another reason for its rampant abuse.

Because most people who misuse codeine cough syrups are teens hoping to get an easy buzz, these users do not often realize how dangerous their abuse of codeine cough syrup really is (NIDA). Sometimes, users will mix the drug with soda to make it taste better so they can continue sipping on it all day. Some individuals might mix the drug with alcohol, which makes it even more likely to cause a deadly overdose.

Can a Person Become Addicted to Codeine Cough Syrup?

Yes. The drug causes all the same side effects when misused that other opioids cause. Many of these effects can lead to or accompany addiction, including:

Cough Syrup

Withdrawal symptoms are a sign of codeine cough syrup addiction.

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Dependence
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Cravings

Just because codeine cough syrup is easier to obtain than prescription painkillers or because it is not considered a painkiller itself does not mean it can’t cause addiction. Codeine is a narcotic and no matter how it is presented to the body or what drugs it is combined with, if it is used consistently, often, and in large doses for long enough, it can cause addiction.

What Should I Do?

If you think you or someone you know is addicted to codeine because of cough syrup abuse, treatment in a rehab program will still be necessary. Those who do not seek help may eventually turn to another drug of abuse, like painkillers or heroin, in order to fight their tolerance for codeine. Therefore, it is always important to seek professional help.

Rehab programs offer treatments like opioid replacement therapies, detox medications, and behavioral therapies that can help you put an end to our cough syrup abuse and change your life for the better. Always remember, though, that codeine cough syrup is only available by prescription for a reason, and while many users believe it is safe enough to abuse this drug because it is not a painkiller, it still contains an addictive narcotic.

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