As with other narcotic pain relievers, the number of people illicitly using codeine is increasing. Between 2012 and 2013, illicit users increased from 264,000 to 293,000 people. Prescription painkillers like codeine are a risk factor for heroin abuse.
What is Codeine?
Codeine is a narcotic pain-relieving medication used for mild to moderate pain management, controlling diarrhea, or as a cough suppressant. It is also a commonly abused opioid. Codeine is typically prescribed as a combination pain reliever (with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other analgesics).
Always take this prescription medication exactly as prescribed by a physician to avoid serious side effects and potential overdose. Misuse and abuse of this medication can lead to serious health effects as well as substance dependence and addiction. Taking codeine for longer than prescribed or at higher does than recommended can lead to tolerance of the drug, which in turn can lead to substance dependence as a person needs more of the drug to achieve the same pain-relieving effect.