Is Codeine a Narcotic?




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Codeine is not the most popular substance out there, but it is frequently abused. Because of our unfamiliarity with the drug, codeine abuse is often overlooked. In order to make this drug a bit more understandable, we’ll have to answer some of the most common questions regarding it.

Is it a narcotic? Why is it used for pain relief? How do narcotics work?

On this article we will answer all these questions. But first, let’s take a closer look at the substance in question.

Codeine: An Overview

CodeineMany people don’t know what codeine is. It is actually a prescription opioid and cough suppressant. This means it is used for pain relief. Codeine is considered relatively mild compared to other opioids. This substance is often prescribed for patients who are experiencing mild to moderate pain.

Other opioids are used for moderate to severe pain, but codeine is less potent.  In fact, it is often used in combination medicines for drugs like acetaminophen in order to boost its effectiveness.

Technically speaking, codeine is an opiate, although this commonly used interchangeably with the word “opioid”. Codeine is actually a natural derivative of the opium poppy plant. Opioids are synthetically made.

Despite being mild, codeine has possible side effects like nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and itching. It may even cause constipation. Those who abuse codeine are also at risk of addiction and physical dependence. This is why the drug needs to be taken exactly as prescribed.

If your doctor gives you codeine, or prescribes any other opioid for that matter, be sure to follow their instructions carefully. Do not take larger doses, and do not take the substance for longer than you are supposed to.

Is it a Narcotic?

The answer to this question really depends on how you use the term “narcotic”. In medical terms, there’s a specific definition for this word, which refers to opiates and opioids. This means codeine is indeed classified as a narcotic. It is a controlled substance because of its addictive properties, meaning you can become physically dependent on it. But just like most opiates, it may be used for medical purposes, provided that it is prescribed by a licensed physician

Codeine also meets the requirements to be classified as a narcotic because it slows down brain activity.

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In law enforcement, there’s a much broader usage of the term “narcotic”. Any drug that can dull the senses is classified as a narcotic, legally speaking. This means even if a drug isn’t specifically an opiate or an opioid, it can be called a narcotic.

Any drug that can be obtained, taken, and distributed by illegal means is called a narcotic. It’s almost synonymous to “illicit drugs”. Codeine isn’t exactly illegal, as long as it is given by a licensed physician for a specific medical purpose.

Codeine provides not only pain relief but also a relaxing sensation that makes it prone to being abused. If you know someone who is addicted to codeine, or any other narcotic, you have to be aware that recovery is possible.

It may take a combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy, but it is possible to get better. Look for an addiction treatment facility near you today and find out how rehab works for codeine users.


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