Australia to ban over-the-counter codeine

The Australian government have banned over the counter codeine prescriptions as of February 1st 2018. This measure is sure to reveal a whole new class of addict. It is very likely that some people will not even realise they are addicted. Only when they have no supply and feel the withdrawals will they really know there is a problem.

Reports have revealed codeine addicts have been swallowing up to 100 tablets a day, and people were ‘pharmacy shopping’ to get around rules restricting purchases of more than five days’ supply of the drug at one time. Health authorities are backing the new move, although some are concerned about doctor shopping.

Australia follows codeine legislation of UK and America

The limitations on codeine follow measures taken in Japan, the UK, America and most of Europe. These countries have banned codeine amid growing evidence of abuse. Moreover, the press and health campaigners have called for more stringent measures because of the so called, ‘opiate epidemic’.

Furthermore, the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia found that low-dose codeine medicines are probably no more effective for pain relief or cough than comparable medicines with no codeine.

Doctor shopping  and the dangers of prescription drugs

Doctors are concerned that people will now be drug seeking for codeine. Currently, the health system has no way to track what people are being prescribed and by whom. Furthermore, this legislation (which will no doubt happen in the future) would drive more people with problems surrounding a variety of prescription drugs out into the open.

Addiction to legal drugs is not a moral failing

Many people get addicted to drugs like codeine (over the counter) and prescription drugs like Xanax or Tramadol. Just because these obtained via the healthcare system does not mean that there is not the potential for abuse and addiction. Having said that, many people become addicted to these legal drugs though no fault of their own. Drug addiction can happen to anyone this way and is not a moral failing or weakness. If people  have suffered trauma, have addiction in their families or another mental health disorder the chances of addiction are higher. However, sometimes addiction just happens.

Living life under the influence of any substance has consequences for the addict and those around them even if the addiction is legal and easily obtainable. Moreover, the repercussions are probably going to become more acute as the drugs become more difficult to obtain.

What is codeine?

Codeine is a narcotic pain reliever that is synthesised from the opium poppy. Although less addictive and safer than  heroin or morphine people who take it regularly can become addicted. Codeine works on the opioid receptors of the brain and lessens the effects of pain and physical distress. Additionally, like other opiates, it depresses the respiratory system.  On the other hand, it is one of the safest forms of opiate and overdoses are unlikely unless mixed with other drugs and alcohol.

Why do people use codeine?

Many people use products containing codeine for health issues like back pain, migraines, period pain, dental pain or cold and flu. After February 1st they can’t obtain these without a prescription.

Signs of Codeine Addiction

There are some key signs which might show that you or someone you love has a problem with codeine addiction.

  • Codeine addicts may suffer from physical withdrawal symptoms including cramps, sneezing and flu like symptoms.
  • People addicted to codeine will have a compulsion to use the drug with no real reason. They will use more than recommended and more often.
  • Codeine addicts need to use more and more of the drug for the same effect.
  • People start to neglect things like personal hygiene and appearance because they are no longer important.
  • The codeine addict will ignore medical advise and continues to use the drug
  • People with a codeine addiction will deny how much they want it.
  • They will doctor or pharmacy shop.

Physical Consequences of Codeine Addiction

• Liver or kidney damage
• Constipation, nausea and abdominal pain.
• Low blood pressure and low heart rate
• Vision problems
• Prolonged depression
• Sexual dysfunction.

Drug addiction effects everyone

Addiction to codeine can be life threatening and significant damage can be done to vital organs. Often it is the case that addiction to codeine happens very gradually over a long time so people don’t notice how bad it has become. It may not have the consequences of addiction to illegal drugs but what is bad enough for you? Drug addiction effects everyone in the orbit of the addict including relatives friends and colleagues.

What do I do if I think I have a problem with codeine?

If you recognise any of the signs of codeine addiction in yourself or someone else then you need to seek help. The best people to contact are drug rehabilitation centres or addiction professionals. With proper support, intervention and therapy, codeine addiction can be overcome and you can live a normal life.

Get help for codeine addiction today!

The Hader Clinic has a proven and effective solution to addiction to prescription and legal drugs. Call one of our experts today to find out exactly how we can help you or your family member.