Symptoms of Addiction to Codeine

Codeine is one of those substances that has taken off in recent years and is one of the trendiest drugs to overtake popular culture.

In the same way that heroin is making a re-emergence, meth has reached epidemic levels in rural areas, and prescription pills are being abused at record numbers — codeine has become the drug of choice for young people in the party scene.

You need to learn all about codeine symptoms and warning signs so that you are able to take action if you think that someone in your life is using. Codeine is even being called hip hop’s heroin, which should be enough to show you the seriousness of this drug.

But first things first, what is codeine?

It’s a pain medication that is of the opioid class. People use codeine for severe pain and often mix it with promethazine cough syrup to create a popular drink called “lean” or “syrup”.

Lethargy and Drowsiness

You will need to be mindful of a loved one’s energy levels to notice a difference. If they seem like they’re always nodding off and are lethargic, it could be a good sign that they’re dealing with codeine dependency.

This is a substance that suppresses your energy and acts as a tranquilizer of sorts.

Clumsiness and a Lack of Coordination

When a person is addicted to codeine, they will also begin to lose their motor skills. It affects the brain and makes it difficult to maintain any sort of coordination.

If you notice them having problems doing simple tasks, it could be a sign that codeine is the culprit.


Since codeine acts on your brain receptors, it will also create the potential for mood swings. This is a chemical issue that literally effects your emotions and makes it difficult to have mental focus.

Highs and lows are very common in people that are abusing codeine.

Depression and Numbness

Depression is strong in people that are abusing codeine. This may manifest in crushing emotional turmoil, the inability to eat, and other such factors.

People that use codeine experience emotional numbness, and also use the substance to further numb themselves emotionally.

Warning Signs a Loved One May Be Abusing Codeine

Since you can’t feel their symptoms, it may be difficult to know that someone you love is abusing codeine. However, their behavior may change, making the addiction apparent.

Here are some key behavioral changes that point to codeine addiction:

Wanting to Be Alone

Isolation is a strong factor in people that abuse codeine. They will typically withdraw from friends and family and spend a lot of time in dark rooms.

This is a crucial sign that someone in your life is abusing the drug.

Stealing and Running Into Money Problems

Codeine isn’t cheap at all — as it can easily cost upwards of about $80 per 100 tablets. Since users run through a lot of pills in a single day and week when addicted, you can imagine just how much these costs will add up.

What’s more, someone supporting a habit will likely be getting these drugs illegally, so they won’t have the benefit of using health insurance for the purchase.

As a result, many people resort to stealing in order to afford their habit. Someone who has been the most honest person in the world will begin lying and stealing to support their codeine habit.

If you know such a person and recognize that they are beginning to steal, it is definitely a sign that addiction might be the root cause.

Faking Illnesses to Get More Codeine

Finally, people that are addicted to codeine often have to lie to doctors in order to get their prescription filled. They will likely complain of chronic pain that doesn’t exist and will call 9-1-1 to go to the emergency room in order to get their pill.

This is a red flag that someone is dealing with an addiction to such a strong substance.

You need to pay careful attention to the behavior of your loved one to know for sure — especially if you suspect a parent or child may be addicted.

Is My Child Using Codeine?

Since codeine is currently a trendy drug, your child may be using codeine to keep up with friends and fit in. Pay careful attention to the slang they’re using, and whether their friends also speaking of “coties”, “purple drank”, “dirty Sprite” or “syrup”.

It’s often cool to carry around a large soda cup or styrofoam cup when using the substance, so pay attention to these signs — particularly on your child’s social media.

Is My Parent Using Codeine?

While parents often worry about their kids, you need to also keep tabs to see if your parent may be abusing codeine.

With many adults, addiction comes about due to chronic pain. If your parent has had surgery or constantly complained about pain, and you notice prescriptions constantly being filled, or them exhibiting the signs above, there’s a good chance that they may be struggling with an addiction.

Intervention for Codeine Abuse

Once you know your loved one is addicted, it’s time for an intervention.

First things first, be sure that you have a clear-cut solution to their problem. This means setting them up with rehab and inpatient addiction care that they can choose to take advantage of.

Have their closed loved ones there to speak openly and honestly, so that they can truly see how codeine addiction has changed their life. Above all, get the help of a qualified interventionist that can help facilitate things.

When you go about it in this way, and understand codeine symptoms and warning signs, you’re better able to give your loved one the help that they need.