The Scary OTC Drug You Could Develop An Addiction To

It's scarily easy to get hooked.


Karomaza |

The commonly-used drug is the most commonly used opioid in the world and is routinely dished out for anything from suppressing coughs to relieving pain. It’s called codeine. But several countries are reconsidering its accessibility since concerns about reports of misuse, abuse and addiction and the associated serious morbidity and mortality.

What is codeine?

It’s a centrally active, low-efficacy opioid or narcotic analgesic. Translation: codeine works via the central nervous system to relieve pain, but it could be addictive. Kinda sorta duh since it’s derived from the OG addiction plant, poppy. It’s also in the same family as heroin. Regardless, it’s effective, and can be found in meds for colds and flu, cough suppressants and of course, pain relievers.

Watch: Here’s Why You Really Shouldn’t Use Antibiotics Unless You HAVE To

How do you get hooked?

Watch how often you take the OTC drug. According to Jackie Maimin, CEO of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), codeine use often starts out innocently enough with a prescription for a codeine-based cough syrup or pain reliever. “Due to the accessibility of certain codeine-containing products when compared to the highly regulated opiates, such as morphine and oxycodone, the misuse and resulting abuse of codeine is high. Though less potent, codeine provides effects similar to those of highly regulated and controlled morphine.”

“As an opiate, regular codeine use carries the risk of its users developing a tolerance to and eventually a dependence on it. Although many people start by using codeine to relieve a legitimate condition such as the physical pain of headaches, regular use can lead to misuse as codeine users turn to the drug to cope with their emotional pain as well,” warns Maimin.

Watch: 4 Signs You’re Becoming Addicted To Those Meds You Keep Taking

Are you addicted?

Worried you may have popped one too many painkillers? Check off your symptoms from the list below.

1/ Have you tried to cut down or stop using medicines that contain codeine, but have been unsuccessful or found it very difficult?

2/ Have you continued to use codeine-containing medication even after the original symptoms disappeared?

3/ Can you get through a whole week without using your codeine-containing medication?

4/ Do you find yourself needing higher and/or more frequent doses of your codeine-containing medication to achieve the desired results?

5/ Have you experienced any withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, anxiety, anger or irritability, between doses or when you try to stop taking your codeine-containing medication?

If you’re answering yes to any of the questions, speak to your doc, pharmacist, or go to .

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