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Is Codeine An Opiate/Opioid?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

May 28, 2019

Codeine is an opioid prescription used to treat and manage mild to moderate pain. This drug comes with the risk of abuse and addiction. People who are addicted to codeine may need to seek formal treatment to successfully quit the drug.

Is not uncommon to wonder whether a pain medication is an opioid. With the opioid epidemic significantly impacting the nation, many people are on the lookout to avoid opioids when possible.

Codeine is an opioid prescription used most commonly to treat mild to moderate pain or as a cough suppressant. While not as strong as other opioids like morphine, this drug still comes with the potential for abuse and addiction.

What Is An Opioid?

Opioids are drugs that are derived from the opium poppy plant whether naturally or in a lab. Codeine is an opioid, as are other drugs like morphine, oxycodone, and heroin.

Legal drugs that are classified as opioids are most commonly used to treat mild to severe pain. Most opioids are only used for short-term treatment due to their potential for abuse and addiction.

All opioids work similarly and primarily affect the opioid receptors in the brain. By doing so, these drugs can change how a person perceives pain to lower feelings of pain. Opioids also impact the reward system in the brain and can create feelings of pleasure and euphoria. This is especially true when opioids are taken in higher doses.

People who abuse opioids like codeine can quickly develop a tolerance to the drug. As a result, many people will continue to increase the dose to experience the same effects. This can lead to abuse, physical dependence, and addiction.

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Treatment For Codeine Abuse And Addiction

If you are struggling with an addiction to codeine, it’s important to know that you are not alone. It’s also important to know your options when it comes to treatment.

There are a number of different treatment options to consider when seeking help for opioid addiction. Many people find great success with formal treatment programs such as inpatient treatment.

Inpatient programs provide individuals with the opportunity to get out of their current environment and focus solely on recovery for several weeks or months. Inpatient treatment often offers individualized plans of recovery that are catered to each person’s needs.

To learn more about whether codeine is an opioid and treatment options for codeine addiction, contact a treatment specialist today.

IWP - Opiate, Opioid, Narcotic - What's the Difference?

National Institute On Drug Abuse - Opioids

Poison Control - Introduction to the Opioid Epidemic

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