Codeine Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment
Reflecting most closely, the Greek, kodeia – meaning poppy head, codeine is more widely used worldwide, than any other opiate, and as a drug, one of the most common. Accordingly, this is due to its effectiveness as an orally administered analgesic, coupled with its wide safety margin, especially relative to other opioids. Following morphine, also an active opiate compound, isolated in 1804, by a German pharmacist, codeine was first isolated in 1832, by French chemist and pharmacist, Pierre Robiquet, who was working on more refined extraction processes for morphine. Prior to the 19th century, raw opium was utilized in various preparations known as laudanum and paregoric elixirs (pain soothers). Identifying these active components allowed for improved selectivity and safety among the opiate-based pharmaceuticals, with those formulations from codeine used as an antitussive (for cough), and as an anti-diarrheal.
Codeine the 20th century
As the creation of opiate-based derivatives increased, into the 20th century, the source for codeine extraction changed, from opium directly, to the use of the more abundant ‘morphine’ through a methylation process. Since the 1950’s, codeine’s usefulness has also changed, occurring ‘in-combination’ with an alarming number of medications (drug synergy) including: aspirin (co-codaprin); ibuprofen (Nurofen Plus); acetaminophen (as co-codamol in brands: Paracod, Panadeine, Tylenol with codeine series); anti-inflammatories (naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac); in muscle relaxers, other pain killers; and in ‘complex’ mixtures (aspirin + acetaminophen + codeine + caffeine, antihistamines, and other agents), due to its mild to moderate analgesic effects, even though, it is a narcotic. Ironically, over time the connotation of the word, narcotic, has changed, from its original meaning of, sleep-inducing, to an indefinite representation for the class of psychoactive, toxic, and potentially dangerous drugs, which includes opioids, such as heroin, morphine, and codeine.
This proliferation of codeine is available in many countries as, OTC (over-the-counter) medications, taken often, too readily, for headaches and pain, giving rise to a generation of codeine addicts – who maintain their habit (often unrecognized), rather than experience the unpleasant and painful withdrawal symptoms. In the United Kingdom, deaths related to codeine were nearly three times higher in 2011, compared to 2001. In the United States, a similar, and prevailing painkiller addiction syndrome is supported by ‘prescription only’ codeine combinations, which are decidedly misused, and recreationally (illicitly) abused. Codeine is highly regulated in the U.S. under various narcotic control laws (which, of course, does not preclude the fact that codeine products are available on the black-market, and on the street, often sourced from other countries whose laws are not as stringent). Yet, most surprising, a seemingly innocuous potion, typically identified with childhood illness, in recent times, has lost its innocence and intended purpose.
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Modern Abuse Of Codeine – Sizzurp – Purple Drank
The cooling, soothing, medicinal mixture, prescribed for cough, is no longer just that when mixed with Sprite or Mountain Dew and a Jolly Rancher candy-cube. Aka, ‘purple drank,’ ‘sizzurp,’ or Texas tea, also, ‘purple jelly,’ ‘syrup’ or ‘lean,’ – the danger level of this codeine-containing concoction is extremely high. Not taken as prescribed to relieve persistent cough and congestion, but abusively, in amounts up to 25 times the appropriate dosage, a codeine promethazine cough syrup, blended as above, is taken for its mild euphoric, sedative effects, often accompanied by altered states of consciousness. Considered a preferred ‘drug formula’ among the “hip-hop” community, beginning in the 1980’s, this ‘drank’ is also considered the cause of death for several high profile rappers, as well as, for recreational users of varied communities, over the last 30 years. It is the ‘excess’ and the ‘combination’ of codeine and promethazine, that is life-threatening and often lethal, as codeine can cause respiratory depression, and promethazine, a neuroleptic drug (anti-psychotic) acts as a CNS-depressant (in controlled dosages, used as an antihistamine, for nausea, motion sickness, and to sedate patients before and after surgery, during labor, and at other times), can cause respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.
Counter-productively, it seems, promethazine was added to cough syrup with codeine, to deter abuse, as the user will experience extreme sleepiness, and clinical weakness, hopefully before ingesting too much, which can result in fatal hypoventilation (lack of sufficient breath to sustain life). In addition, promethazine actually enhances the effects of the codeine, in the cough syrup, and when finding its way into clubs, parties, or other recreational settings where alcohol consumption is also included, a deadly triple-threat combination can occur – the abuser’s major physiological systems become toxic – their functions chemically altered and damaged, with potentially fatal results.
Common Side Effects Of Codeine Use
- urinary retention
- nausea and vomiting
- dry mouth
- unclear thinking
- difficulty breathing
Long-Term Side Effects
- memory loss
- diminished libido
- low blood pressure
- slow heartbeat
- respiratory depression
- severe difficulty breathing
- severe mood swings
- extreme weakness
- acute pancreatitis
Signs of Overdose
- loss of consciousness
- slow and shallow breathing
- low heartbeat
- cold and clammy skin
Extended Codeine Use
Extended codeine use, (in all of its various formulas), is similar to other opiates, resulting in tolerance and eventual dependence (addiction), often without very high dosage levels or spans of time, and very often without the applicant’s realization that he or she is addicted Any product containing codeine puts an unborn child, nursing baby, or very young child at risk of respiratory failure as metabolizing rates are strikingly different in the mother, neonate, and youngster, than in most all other cases. Recreational users, trying to withdraw from stronger opiates, may use codeine, and its related products, to wean themselves gradually, avoiding at all costs, the horrible side effects accompanying opiate withdrawal, not realizing that codeine is not a quick-fix, and has similar withdrawal symptoms. Complete detox takes time, and is very difficult to do without medical guidance and rehabilitation.
Many of those addicted to codeine began using with simple intentions…
Many of those addicted to codeine began using with simple intentions – trying to manage headaches, pain, nausea, prolonged symptoms accompanying cold and flu, but have in the meantime become addicts, unable to break the cycle, of perceived need and tolerance against possible discomfort and withdrawal. Recreational users who have consumed once too often, are often, unknowingly risking death with each and every ‘next occasion.’ Inpatient treatment addresses the addiction and the individual, mutually, safely within a comfortable rehabilitation setting, for as long as is necessary to assure a lasting recovery. Rehabilitation protocol considers the whole person, medical history, habits, daily routines, age, diet and exercise, and overall well-being. Trained and supportive professionals appreciate, monitor, and utilize the several aspects which may bring a person into addiction – physically, emotionally, socially, and personally, and through a careful and selective inpatient program, reveal how to restore a balance in their patient’s life – to last a lifetime.
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