A man who abuses Codeine sits at home with his addiction

Codeine is a prescription painkiller medication used to treat mild to moderate pain that commonly comes in tablet form or in cough suppressant formulas. Codeine is an opiate medication and thus carries a high risk for dependence and addiction. Here we take a look at codeine abuse and addiction.

Why is Codeine addictive?

Codeine is an opiate medication, meaning that it is naturally occurring in opium poppy A woman on Codeine stands with pills behind herplants (along with morphine and other opiates).

Codeine is what is known as a prodrug, which means the liver converts it into another chemical that is responsible for its effects.

Codeine is the prodrug for morphine, which it is converted to within the liver. (1)

Codeine side effects

Codeine carries many of the same side effects as seen with other opiate and opioid medications. Common Codeine side effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Sense of well-being
  • Constipation
  • Pinned eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching
  • Drowsiness (2)

Codeine Withdrawal

Those who abuse codeine ultimately develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects. This means the user must take more of the drug to feel the same effects. Codeine, like all opiates, is also physically addicting.

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This means the user will experience a severe Codeine withdrawal if they suddenly stop taking the drug.

Codeine withdrawal mirrors that of other opiates and opioids, and includes the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Yawning
  • Sneezing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drug cravings
  • Flu-like symptoms (3)

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3697796/
  2. https://www.rxlist.com/codeine-sulfate-drug.htm#interactions
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm