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Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline

Freephone: 0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066
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Codeine

Cody, Captain Cody, Syrup

If you don't find what you're looking for you can always ring the DAN 24/7 helpline on 0808 808 2234 and talk confidentially to an advisor.

What does Codeine look like?

Codeine is available usually as Tablets, oral liquid, and sometimes in injectable Ampoules for intra-muscular administration.

A Codeine tablet

Scientific Names

3-methylmorphine

Generic Name

Codeine Phosphate

Effects Of Codeine

Desired Effects:

Calmness, reduced anxiety, relaxation, pain relief.

Side-Effects:

Drowsiness, confusion, disorientation, nausea & sickness, itching and flushing of the skin, constipation.

Risks

Short-term:

Tolerance, accidents, Overdose. As with Dihydrocodeine, intravenous administration should be avoided, as it could result in damage to veins and circulation, fluid on the lungs which can be very dangerous, and a serious allergic reaction that can result in death.

Long-term:

Physical and psychological Dependence with repeated use. Many codeine preparations contain Analgesics such as Paracetamol, which in high doses can be toxic to the liver.

Reducing Harm

Please view our Reducing Harm page for more information.

How does Codeine work?

Opiate. Central nervous system Depressant, Analgesic, cough suppressant, Sedative.

Legal status of Codeine

Tablets are Class B under the Misuse of Drugs Act, while injectable Ampoules are Class A. Prescription only medicine (small amounts of codeine are in some medicines which can be bought without prescription from pharmacies).

How Is Codeine Taken?

Tablets are swallowed orally. Codeine should not be injected intravenously (like Dihydrocodeine) - users who have attempted crushing tablets to inject report a painful experience. Injectable Ampoules are for intra-muscular injection only.

Paraphernalia

If injected, prepared Ampoules, Needle, Syringe.

Medical uses of Codeine

Prescribed by a doctor to treat mild to moderate pain as well as coughing and shortness of breath. It can also be taken to treat diarrhoea. Small amounts of codeine can be combined with other medicines like Paracetamol, ibuprofen or Aspirin, for treating headaches etc. These can be in cough syrups, Tablets or Capsules and can be bought in pharmacies as Over The Counter medicines. They carry warnings on the packs about the risk of dependency. Other medicines codeine can be found in include Co-codamol and also in other Over The Counter medicines.

Where does it come from?

This is a pharmaceutical drug which is sometimes diverted from manufacturers, pharmacies or GPs prescriptions.

Helping services

Codeine users can access support from 'street agencies' or projects, sometimes called community drug services or community drug teams, which offer a range of services including information and advice, counselling, detoxification and prescribing for opiate users, needle exchanges and sometimes support groups and other services such as acupuncture. Some may have extended opening hours and may be open at weekends. GPs and hospitals can make referrals to specialist drug services like Drug Dependency Units (DDUs). These are usually located in or adjacent to a hospital and specialise in helping problem drug users, especially people who are physically dependent. They provide counselling, detoxification, substitute prescribing and other treatments. Residential services offer treatment programmes for heavily dependent drug users who are trying to give up. Residents must usually be drug free on admission which means they usually have to undergo detoxification before entry. Programmes usually last 3-6 months, but some 12 steps programmes last longer. The types of programmes vary. Self help groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) co-ordinate local support groups for problem drug users around the country. Families Anonymous run similar groups for the families of drug users.

Parents & other relatives

Drug agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents of people using these drugs. Many street agencies can provide relative support groups or counselling for family members, partners etc.

You can view a list of National Drug Agencies.

If you would like to talk about Codeine problems then please call the DAN 24/7 Helpline on:


0808 808 2234
Last updated: 14 March 2013
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