Overdosing on Codeine: Everything You Need to Know

Just as you’re reading this, someone may be suffering from codeine addiction and be unknowingly taking dangerous amounts of codeine.

This powerful drug, while beneficial in controlled doses, can lead to tragic consequences when misused. A pain killer and a cough suppressant, codeine belongs to the opioid family. While less potent than other members of the same family, it can still lead to addiction and serious consequences like overdose and even death.
codeine formula

What Causes Codeine Overdoses?

Overdosing on codeine is a significant risk, often caused by several factors such as taking more than the recommended dosage, using it for extended periods beyond what’s prescribed, or combining it with inappropriate substances. Another common yet dangerous practice is purchasing codeine from unregulated sources like the black market, exposing you to high risks of impurity and unknown concentrations. These practices can lead to a lethal overdose or severe health complications.

Taking Too Much

Taking excessive amounts of any substance isn’t just risky—it’s potentially deadly. Codeine’s no exception from this rule.
When you consume more codeine than your body can handle, you’re essentially poisoning yourself.
You might think that taking a bit more than prescribed won’t cause harm. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not always about how much you take but how your body reacts to it. Everyone’s metabolism is different and some individuals may be more susceptible to an overdose than others.

Taking It for Longer Than Prescribed

Taking a prescription drug like codeine for longer than recommended can lead to dependency and serious health problems. This misuse often progresses into codeine abuse, which in turn, can escalate to codeine addiction. Long-term use of this medication alters the brain chemistry, causing you to need more of the drug to achieve the same effects – this is known as tolerance. Increased consumption may result in severe side effects such as liver damage, breathing issues, or even overdosing. Extending your prescribed duration puts you at risk for developing an addiction, which is characterised by compulsive use despite harmful consequences. Therefore, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions and promptly seek help if you suspect an issue with codeine abuse or addiction.

Taking It Alongside the Wrong Substances

Mixing prescribed medications with other substances can be dangerous, particularly when it comes to medicines like codeine. Substances like other medications and alcohol can amplify the depressant effects of codeine on your nervous system, leading to severe respiratory distress or even death. Moreover, mixing codeine with certain antidepressants or anxiety medications could increase the risk of serotonin syndrome – a serious condition characterised by high body temperature, agitation, increased reflexes, tremor, sweating, dilated pupils and diarrhoea.

Buying Codeine off the Black Market

Purchasing this particular medication from the black market isn’t just illegal, it’s also incredibly risky. Black market sellers aren’t regulated, so there’s no guarantee of what you’re actually getting. You could end up with a product that is contaminated or contains harmful substances. It might not even contain any codeine at all. Illicit sources often sell codeine in forms that are incredibly potent and dangerous to consume without medical supervision. They may also misrepresent the strength of their product, leading you to unknowingly take a dangerously high dose.

You Don't Need to Struggle on Your Own

Call us today to help your addiction.

Contact Us

Who Needs Codeine?

Patients suffering from moderate to severe pain often need codeine, a prescription-strength opioid medication. This powerful analgesic provides much-needed relief for post-surgery discomfort, chronic back pain, cancer-related agony or other debilitating ailments. Codeine, however, should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider due to its high potential for addiction and overdose.

How to Use

Codeine’s standard dosage and strength can vary depending on individual factors such as age, weight, and overall health condition. It’s crucial to adhere strictly to your doctor’s instructions regarding dosage to prevent potential harmful effects.

Standard Dosage and Strength

Typically, an adult’s starting dose is around 15 to 60 mg taken every four to six hours, but this could be different for you. You should never to exceed a maximum of 360 mg in a day.
For cough relief, usually a lower dosage between 10 and 20 mg every four to six hours is recommended. However, children or older adults may need lower doses due to their heightened sensitivity.

Urgent Care When Overdose Is Observed

If you’re witnessing a codeine overdose, it’s critical that you act quickly and seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of an overdose can include shallow or laboured breathing, blue lips and nails, drowsiness or loss of consciousness, and pinpoint pupils. Don’t wait until the symptoms worsen; call emergency assistance immediately. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, try to keep the person awake and upright if possible. If they become unconscious but are still breathing normally, place them in the recovery position to prevent choking. Do not try to induce vomiting unless directed by a healthcare professional. This could lead to serious complications including aspiration pneumonia.

The Providence Projects

We’ve been helping people overcome their addiction for more than 25 years. We know what an opioid dependency can do but we also have numerous examples of how willpower, coupled with professional assistance, can produce profound life changes.

At The Providence Projects, we advocate for holistic and comprehensive treatment approaches that are tailored to address individual needs. Through such a therapeutic paradigm, we addresses not only the physical symptoms but also the psychological and emotional aspects of addiction. Our proven treatment programmes include one-on-one counselling, group therapy, medical detoxification services, and aftercare planning.

The team comprises experienced professionals who understand the complexities of addiction and are committed to helping you navigate your recovery journey. We believe in equipping individuals with the necessary tools and support to lead fulfilling lives free from substance dependence. With our unwavering commitment to recovery success, we are a reliable ally in overcoming codeine dependence and rebuilding lives affected by addiction.

This sweet-tasting medication is known for effectively fighting against severe coughs, yet as much comfort as it can alleviate disturbing symptoms, it comes with some side effects; drowsiness and seda...
Are you struggling with addiction or know of someone who is? Want to stop abusing substances but don’t know where or how to begin? You may be reading this and feeling like there’s no way out of th...