Substance abuse is a problem that affects millions of American families every year. The government and other private industries have poured millions of dollars and endless hours of work into prevention, treatment, awareness and enforcement to stop the growing problem. Unfortunately, drug abuse and addiction continues to grow. Addiction can affect anyone at any time. It is a problem that does not discriminate. It was once a problem that was unique to urban/city centers, but has recently grown and infected rural communities across the country. The rise of drug abuse can be directly connected to the rise in prescription drug abuse in the country. The United States consumes more prescription medication than any other nation in the world. New generations are being medicated more than any other in our history. The archaic practices of what now are seen as inhumane ways of treating those with illnesses or disabilities have been reincarnated. Today’s society pumps an incredible amount of chemicals into their bodies and those of the ‘sick or disabled’ that it will one day be described as horrifying. The amount of prescription drugs produced has created a growing industry of illegal drug sales, trading, distribution and consuming. Prescription drugs have risen to the top of the drug pyramid. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused gateway drug and recreational drug to date. They are the leading cause of abuse, addiction and injury.

Empirin Codeine

Empirin Codeine is a combination drug. It is the mixture of a narcotic painkiller, fever reducer and less potent pain reliever. This drug is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Aspirin works by reducing the amount of prostaglandins produced in the body. Prostaglandin is a chemical compound that is a group of physiologically active lipids. This chemical can be found in all tissues in the body. They sustain homeostatic functions and mediate pathogenic mechanisms, which decreases sensations of pain.

Codeine is an opioid pain medication. This drug is considered a narcotic that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is also a cough suppressant that is similar to morphine and Hydrocodone. When codeine is consumed a small amount of the drug is converted to morphine in the body. The drug works by mimicking the action of natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body called endorphins. When endorphins combine with opioid receptors they reduce pain; endorphins are found in the brain and spinal cord. When these endorphins combine with opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord they limit/block the signal of pain signals from the nerves to the brain. In the treatment of a cough, codeine reduces nerve signals coming from the part of the brain from the ‘coughing centre’ to the muscles that produce the cough. Coughing is a useful action that is a reflex response to irritation of the airways. The action is important to help the body remove dust, particles, and mucus from the airways to make breathing easier. In some cases coughing serves no purpose that is painful and irritating. Codeine is useful in these cases to suppress unnecessary coughing. Codeine is also used to treat diarrhea. A side-effect of opioid use/abuse is limited bowel movements. Codeine helps to reduce diarrhea by reducing muscular contractions of the intestine. The speed with which the intestine pushes food and fecal matter along is reduced, which reduces the discomfort of diarrhea. This allows for water and electrolytes more time to be reabsorbed in the body.

Codeine Addiction

Codeine abuse can become an addiction for several reasons. Like other drug addictions, codeine addiction can develop from genetics, brain chemistry, environmental, and psychological issues. Those individuals who have a history of substance abuse and addiction are more likely to develop an addiction to codeine. Brain chemistry is an integral part of addiction. Codeine works on neurotransmitters in the brain. Many individuals begin to use and continue to use codeine to balance a lack of a natural occurring neurotransmitter. Like other drugs, codeine is used for self-medication. The environment that a person grows up in or is surrounded by can contribute to the risk of developing an addiction. Young adults that grew up in a hostile environment can have an increased risk for developing and addiction. Modeling is another factor in becoming addicted to drugs. Children that witness family members abusing drugs are more likely to develop an addiction. Psychological factors can add to a person’s likelihood of developing an addiction. Many individuals dealing with an addiction do so in a self-medicating manner. Those dealing with mental disorders use drugs like codeine to deal with those unpleasant side effects.

Signs and Symptoms of Empirin Codeine Addiction

The signs and symptoms of codeine abuse and addiction will vary from person to person. Since codeine is an opioid pain reliever many of the symptoms will be similar to other opioids. Symptoms can be visible in the addict’s psychological state, physical state, behavior, and moods. Side effects of codeine include a calming and euphoric feeling. Those on codeine will appear extremely relaxed in a euphoric state. The drug will also cause individuals to feel depressed, anxious, and suffer from wide mood swings. The behavior of the addict will also be erratic. They will display drowsiness, increased time sleeping, decrease in appetite, apathy, increased hospital visits, doctor shopping, prescription forgery, stealing, healthcare fraud, and lying. Codeine is a prescription medication that requires written consent to obtain. When you abuse this drug you use it more than it is supposed to be used, which will require frequent refills. This will cause the individual to seek medical attention much too often. Doctor shopping is an action where an individual visits several different doctors to obtain mass amounts of a drug. Many addicts steal their prescriptions from other family members or friends if they must. Other side effects of Empirin Codeine addiction include:

-Blue tinge to lips and fingernails
-Muscle twitches
-Nausea and vomiting
-Dry mouth
-Urinary retention
-Decreased libido
-Respiratory depression

Codeine works on the neurotransmitters of the brain and will cause significant amount of damage.
Codeine will cause hallucinations, delusions, memory loss, and lack of emotions.

Getting Help

Prescription drug abuse and addiction are very dangerous situations that millions of families cope with every year. These issues can become deadly. Getting help for this addiction is a must. The longer an addiction is ignored, enabled or allowed to carry on the harder it can be to overcome. There are a number of addiction hotlines and treatment centers that can help an addict or their families get moving in the right direction. Addiction can seem like an overwhelming issue to overcome. Any fear the stigma that their family will have to endure, but it should not hold them back. Speaking with a professional can help to clear up any confusion and educate the family on the right plan of action. Addiction can cause serious division within the family as such it should be confronted as soon as possible. Do not let your family separate or live in the chaos and turmoil of addiction. The best way to combat addiction is with education. The more a family understands about an addiction the better prepared they are to move forward in getting help.