Codeine is one of the many drugs classified as an opiate - narcotics with a high potential for addiction.

It is used as pain suppressant, but it is generally found in combinations with cough syrups to suppress the choking outbursts in the throat.

Heroin, morphine and the likes belong to the opiate family naturally gotten from the opium plant.

Its high potential for addiction has taken hold of some Nigerian youths, resulting in the purchase of up to a million bottles of codeine daily in the north.

It leaves them with the feeling of temporary ecstasy, high in the clouds and far away from reality, but this addiction serves as a highway to death.

Codeine gets them high altering their consciousness, giving them the courage to do things they will not ordinarily consider rational.

Some of its negative short-term effects according to a top medical officer with Graceland Medical Centre, Dr. Chijindu Nkuche, are Nausea and vomiting, excessive drowsiness, dysphoria or confusion, dry mouth, constipation and allergic skin reaction or rash.

"When codeine gets into the body it is quickly transformed to morphine which on its own causes respiratory depression and failure. This is one of the fears of excess codeine abuse," he said.

More dangerous short-term effects are slowed breathing, drop in the rate of heart beat and dropped blood pressure.

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But these, as deadly as they are, are just minor issues when compared to the long term-effect.

Consistent abuse of the drug due to addiction is what we see these days and it has even caught the attention of the Nigerian Senate.

When an individual takes this opiate for a very long time, it is quite dangerous and sometimes fatal to the body.

Excessive use of Codeine can lead to insomnia (lack of good sleep), terrible nightmares, pain when not using the drug, liver damage secondary to acetaminophen toxicity, seizures, comma and cardiac arrest which often leads to death.

"It can permanently damage the brain," the doctor stressed.

Dr. Nkuche said that the cardiac and respiratory slowing effects of codeine come after prolonged exposure to the drug.

The negative effect of the drug that has become a darling to some women is huge and needs to be addressed.

Also Read: Codeine Is The New Cancer For Female Folks - Senate

If you know someone that is addicted to codeine, kindly advise the individual to seek emergency care and save them from premature death.

The abuse of codeine cough syrup casts aspersion on the nation’s implementation of control measures, as codeine could be purchased by anyone across the counter without a doctor’s prescription.

Acting fast is one thing that the government should do now to safe the lives of young Nigerians who have found solace in Codeine.

Easy access to codeine must be checked, the doctor recommended.


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