Robert Earl Davis Jr. adopted the name DJ Screw and pioneered a sound intended to approximate the effects of a codeine-infused drink known as “lean.” Davis accomplished this by slowing down hip-hop records so that they achieved this woozy, lumbering, and eerie effect. Codeine was indeed his muse, but it ultimately proved to be his Achilles.
“While Screw was slowing down the music, he was slowing himself down with various substances, especially codeine. It finally killed him, on November 16, 2000, at the age of 29,” noted a Texas Monthly article that examined his legacy.
If anything, Davis’ death highlights the dangers associated with the recreational consumption of codeine, a prescription medication intended to treat mild-to-moderate pain.
What’s more, codeine may only be one-tenth to one-third as strong as morphine, but when taken in large enough doses, in cough syrups or recreational concoctions, it is capable of producing dependency, addiction, and, over time, death.
Because codeine is an opiate, it will show up on drug tests as a substance of abuse. However, a variety of factors can determine how long it remains detectable in your body after a dose.
Read on to find out what those factors are along with its detection windows and effects.
Codeine is used to treat mild-to-moderate pain. However, it is also used as a suppressant in cough medicines. Depending on its preparation, it can be classified as a Schedule II, III, or V substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
When used alone or in combination with other medications, codeine is available as a tablet, capsule, or liquid. Some form of it is sold under a variety of brand names including Robitussin A-C, Tylenol #3, Fiorinal with codeine, Triacin-C, Tuzistra XR, and Codophos syrup.
Like other opioids, codeine works by compelling the brain to block pain signals while triggering feelings of calm and euphoria. It accomplishes this by activating the release of endorphins, often regarded as the body’s “feel-good” chemical.
Codeine impacts the following brain and nervous system areas:
Codeine typically goes into effect between 10 to 30 minutes and lasts from four to six hours. It becomes habit-forming when taken in larger than normal doses. Though not as potent as morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, or methadone, when used over time, codeine can slow the body’s endorphin production.
When this happens, a person will feel compelled to take larger doses to achieve the effects of a previous dose. This is when tolerance develops. There are cases where users will turn to more potent opioids like heroin to experience more pronounced effects.
According to Verywell Mind, several factors can determine how long codeine remains in the body. It also depends on which form of the drug you take. Those factors include:
It is virtually impossible to determine exactly when codeine will appear on a drug test. The following are estimated time ranges for various testing methods:
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When the body becomes used to the presence of codeine, this is usually when a dependency is established. When the drug leaves the body, a user will begin to exhibit disturbances, which are regarded as withdrawal symptoms.
These disturbances are not considered life-threatening, but when somebody has them, it is typically an indicator that addiction may be imminent.
When that codeine dependency graduates to addiction, a user will take the drug in the face of adverse circumstances like a legal issue or burgeoning health condition.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) issued the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to serve as the principal authority on psychiatric diagnoses. This manual lists 11 criteria that comprise addiction over a 12-month period.
Someone who meets two or three of the criteria have a “mild” disorder. If they have four or five, it is considered “moderate.” Six or more rates as “severe.”
The criteria are as follows:
Codeine may be viewed as a weakling of an opioid when compared to dangerously addictive chemical cousins like oxycodone and heroin, but it is capable of producing some distressing effects on its own, especially in high doses.
Like other opioids, codeine is capable of slowing down breathing and heart rate. Like other opioids, excessive codeine abuse often leads to overdose. Like other opioids, overdose symptoms are life-threatening. They include:
The process starts with medical detoxification. In detox, medical staff will provide care and supervision 24 hours a day, seven days a week as codeine is removed from the body. You will also receive medications to treat withdrawal symptoms as well.
After detox, you will receive ongoing care at a treatment facility. You will have the option of enrolling in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Both options offer intensive treatment and therapy programs on a full-time basis. The only difference is that an IOP will allow you to live at home or some other arranged housing during treatment.
Both are designed to help you get to the underlying causes of your addiction, and they will also equip you with effective strategies to prevent relapse.
After a PHP or IOP, a clinician will arrange aftercare through an alumni program, which allows you access to a recovery community that consists of individuals who are dedicated to achieving lifelong sobriety. They will help you remain connected, inspired, and supported while providing a critical hedge against relapse.
Codeine does not have to take over your life. Let us help you find a treatment program to free you from the shackles of addiction.
Call 855-960-5341 anytime, day or evening, for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable addiction recovery specialists. They can help you find the right treatment option. You can contact us online for more information.
Buddy T | Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician. (n.d.). How Long Does Codeine Stay in Your System? Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-codeine-stay-in-your-system-80233
Codeine: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682065.html
Delphi Behavioral Health Group. (2019, January 17). The Most Important Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Codeine. Retrieved from https://delphihealthgroup.com/codeine/short-long-effects/
Delphi Behavioral Health Group. (2019, March 08). How Long Do Opioids Stay in Your System | Opioids in Urine, Hair, and Saliva Tests. Retrieved from https://delphihealthgroup.com/opioids/how-long-in-body/
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-use-addiction-basics
Ocean Breeze Recovery. (2019, February 18). Codeine Addiction Signs & Treatment | Ocean Breeze Recovery. Retrieved from https://oceanbreezerecovery.org/opioids/codeine/