Is Codeine Stronger Than Morphine?

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No, codeine is not stronger than morphine, but both drugs can cause a serious addiction syndrome. Call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? now if you or someone you know is suffering from an opioid addiction and needs help.

Codeine vs. Morphine

Codeine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, can be found as a Schedule II, III, and V drug. It can be taken alone or in combination with other drugs (like acetaminophen) to treat pain, or it can be used as a cough suppressant in prescription cough medicines. Although any product containing codeine will only legally be available by prescription, many individuals, especially young people, abuse it in both its painkiller and cough syrup forms in order to experience the euphoria large doses of the drug can cause.

Morphine, on the other hand, is only found in Schedule II and III drugs. It can be found as a liquid solution, an extended-release tablet, and an extended-release capsule. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain, according to the National Library of Medicine, and in many cases, it is considered as an option for those who are already tolerant to other opioid drugs.

Which Is Stronger: Codeine or Morphine?


Although not as strong as morphine, codeine still has a high abuse and addiction potential.

Morphine is actually a stronger drug than codeine. Both are drugs that occur naturally in the poppy plant along with opium, which is what sets them apart from many of the other synthetic and semi-synthetic opioid drugs. However, codeine is usually used to treat mild to moderate pain as well as to treat issues like diarrhea and cough, while morphine is only prescribed when more moderate opioids are not able to diminish a patient’s pain and to treat moderate to severe pain issues.

Codeine also usually only lasts about 4 to 6 hours when taken as prescribed while morphine is often found in extended-release medications with effects that last much longer. Even morphine injections, which come on much more quickly and powerfully, last longer and are more intense than codeine. Usually, doctors will only prescribe morphine to those who truly need it and those who already understand the risks of opioid pain medications, while codeine can sometimes be prescribed for less intensive issues.

Can Codeine Found in Cough Syrup Still Be Addictive?

Switching Between Medications

Sometimes, doctors need to switch patients from one type of opioid medication to another. This can cause certain effects, especially if one drug is stronger than the other. For example, if you need to be switched from codeine to a stronger opioid, your doctor may want you to try another medication before going straight to morphine. And even if you are switched to morphine, you will likely need a different dosage than your original dosage with codeine.

It is always extremely important to speak to your doctor before switching to any other medication or dosage and to take your prescription exactly as your doctor has recommended.

Are You Struggling with Opioid Addiction?

Whether you have been abusing codeine, morphine, or another type of opioid, now is the time to seek help. Call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? now to begin the process of finding the right rehab program for your safe recovery.

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