Codeine: The Broadway To The Path Of Addiction

“…Anyone who drinks this water will soon be come thirsty again….” John 4:13

As I walked  into the consulting room,a young undergraduate of about 25 years of age sat down across the table. His tall and well built stature could not be overlooked even in his sitting position.He was poorly dressed,unkempt and was faced downwards in an attempt to hide the eyes that spelt defeat.He wasn’t my first patient to be on the row for “substance deliverance”,but for some reason the picture of him represented the reality of the glory of God in man being stripped off by the same lustful desire of the forbidden fruit. He was in a world of his own,and this world must be of darkness and confusion because the incoherent words revealed so. Worse still he was a prisoner of his own mind at different stages of being stolen from,killed or destroyed.

Of course like every other; he had a story. His elder brother told how it all started with codeine containing syrup,which seemed initially harmless. He had continued and seemed to have stopped getting the desired effect and the next “logically correct” option was tramadol.At presentation he was already injecting himself with pentazocine all done to eliminate phantom pain,relax and have some ” highness”, this cost him his joy,peace,wealth,relationships.

Codeine is an opiate,same class with tramadol,morphine , pentazocine and heroine. It is clinically used for mild to moderate pain,but more commonly in suppression of cough reflex (mainly as a component of cough syrup). Most persons abuse codeine for it’s euphoric,analgesic and relaxing effect,as a means of filling emptiness and dousing frustration. It is important to note that the seeming beauty of abuse lies in it being within reach, readily available and unsuspecting to an innocent onlooker. Overtime the user runs a risk of developing tolerance following continuous use and then dependence with total loss of control of one’s life.

The side effects of codeine are enormous,they range from constipation to suppression of respiration,drowsiness and seizures to mention a few. It has also been found to result to core psychiatric illnesses including anxiety disorders,depression,mania and schizophrenia-like disorder.There has been reported cases of death.

Codeine is most times used in synergy with other substances of abuse mostly alcohol. However the most significant effect of codeine seem to be in it being a gateway to other drugs of similar effect eg tramadol,pentazocine,morph,heroin.It can be best described as the one that introduces many to other substances of abuse.

What is then the way out?

“But those who drink of the water I give will never be thirsty again,it becomes a fresh bubbling spring within them,giving them eternal life.”John 4:14

THE TRUTH… Being acknowledged at different levels by the Government,the regulatory bodies,the professionals,the public and most importantly the individual. The TRUTH has the ability to set free.

We   appreciate the Government for stepping in and banning codeine some days ago. We believe it will go a long way to cut off the legal source.

Just like the four are to the paralytic in the scriptures(Mark 2:1-12) so are we ( medical personnels and Christians alike) to people already hooked to this. There are real helps and teaching hospitals and other facilities provide them. We can encourage,direct or bring them to these facilities.

Furthermore we still bring them to Jesus in the place of prayers where only mercy and grace abound for their salvation ,and witnessing where the Lord reconciles without imputing their sins to them.

Next we appreciate the joy of a drug free life and fight every step that could leads to addiction by taking caution in prescribing abuse prone drugs.

Above all, we take heed to ourselves,Meditating on this: 1 Corinthians 6:13 KJV

All things are lawful unto me ,but not all things are expedient: all things are lawful for me,but I will not be brought under the power of any. SHALOM     

Dr Metu Izuchukwu.