How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your System?

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic is alcohol or morphine or idealism,” says Carl Jung.

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in whole over the world. Drug abuse is turning out to be the biggest drug menace.

The latest statistics suggest that about 33 million Americans use codeine each year for non-medical purposes.

In most cases, a person starts codeine use as a codeine-based prescription drug. Because of the opiate content in it, a few of the users get addicted to it.

Codeine is a less regulated drug unlike the more dangerous opioids like morphine and OxyContin. For this reason, procuring and indulging in the abuse of Codeine is far easier than other opioid drugs.

It is worth knowing how long does codeine stays in your system’ if you are already using or intending to use this drug.

What is Codeine?

Codeine is an opioid analgesic drug typically prescribed for relief from mild or moderate pain.

Also, this drug works for managing diarrhea and cough suppression and a few other secondary treatments.

It is a narcotic drug that contains opioids such as opium and heroin in a mild form. However, the opioid contents in this drug are mostly synthetic substances.

It comes under the same category as other opioids like hydrocodone, OxyContin, Demerol, Vicodin, and heroin.

The pain relief benefits of codeine last only for four to six hours.

Codeine comes under schedule II drugs that have the potential for abuse. A considerable number of codeine users develop severe physical or psychological dependence in the long run. Using this drug along with other analgesic medications like Tylenol increases the chances of dependence.

What is lean codeine?

Lean—also known as purple drank, dirty sprite, purple lean, lean drink, or sizzurp —is a combination of the following:

  • Soft drinks
  • Prescription-strength cough medicine
  • Hard, fruit-flavored candy

Most of the lean drinks contain codeine. Lean codeine is another name for such drinks.

Metabolism of codeine

Like every other opioid, your liver does the metabolization of codeine after you consume it. It happens rather fast.

We can approximately calculate the amount of time codeine stays in your system by knowing the half-life of this drug. The ‘half-life’ implies the period required for the concentration or amount of drug in the plasma to be reduced by one-half.

As per records, the half-life of codeine is 2.5 to 4 hours. A potentially active form of codeine does not stay in your system beyond 24 hours.

However, inactive metabolites of this drug can stay in your system for a much longer time. It depends upon which system of the body you are taking into consideration.

About 90 percent of this drug goes out of your system within 24 hours after ingesting it. However, a few traces of this medication remain in various systems for a longer time. It is possible to detect it through common drug testing methods, namely, testing of blood, urine, saliva, or hair.

How long does codeine stay in your system?

You may wonder how long does Codeine stays in your body? Approximately, we can understand this by looking at the way the body process codeine and how different clinical tests can trace the presence of codeine in your system.

Unfortunately, codeine is one of the most abused drugs, especially by young people in the United States. Despite being a prescription drug, it is easy to procure and use this drug by anyone because of its non-restricted availability.

Besides, codeine is widely popular in pop culture over the past several years. This drug is also a chief ingredient in some of the syrups which are highly subjected to misuse.

Those addicted to this drug may use it by mixing it with soda or other popular soda-based cold medicine like Sizzurp, Lean, Double Cups, Purple Drank, or syrup. Codeine is also easily available in cold medicines such as Cody, schoolboy, and T-three’s.

It is worth knowing how long codeine stays in your blood, urine, saliva, hair, especially when you are dealing with the problem of codeine addiction.

The detection period for Codeine

Several factors influence the detection period of codeine in a person’s system. Some of those leading factors are:

  • duration of using codeine
  • a dose of codeine consumed
  • type of codeine formulation used
  • the healthiness of metabolic function
  • use of other drugs or medication
  • level of physical activity by the individual
  • age and hereditary factors
  • the hydration level of the body
  • liver and kidney health

Above all, a person using large doses of the drug for a long period will retain the residues of the drug for a longer time in his body.
The detection period of codeine will vary from person to person.

However, clinical drug testing methods have reported the approximate duration of time codeine can stay in your system.

Here are estimated detection windows, in which codeine can be detected by various testing methods:

Detecting Codeine in urine

Like every other opioid drug, codeine clears out of the body very quickly by the kidneys.

On average, the residues of codeine stay in urine for 2 to 3 days. In most cases, it is not possible to detect codeine in urine beyond 48 hours after you had the last dose of the drug.

Detecting Codeine in blood

Codeine has a short half-life period. On average, the half-life of codeine is around 3 to 4 hours only. In a normally healthy person, codeine will leave the system for approximately 16 hours or less.

As we have seen, due to its short half-life period, the codeine is typically detectable in blood for less than 1 day only.

In fact, blood testing is not a realizable drug testing method for tracing codeine in your system.

Detecting codeine in saliva

Saliva tests for detecting codeine may show up similar results to the blood test for the same.

A saliva test for Codeine may test positive in about 15 minutes after you had the drug. However, mostly it stays in the saliva for 24 hours. In rare cases, it may remain present in the saliva for up to 2 days.

Detecting codeine in hair

Hair testing is one method that helps to detect the use of the drug, especially for long-term users.

Records suggest that a hair follicle test can detect codeine in your system for up to 90 days.

However, it takes more than 10 days for drug residues to reach the hair follicles. The effectiveness of hair testing depends on the dosage and duration of using a drug.

Codeine Abuse and Addiction

Codeine is a legitimate prescription medicine. However, it carries a high risk of addiction and abuse. It is easily available, and the opiate effect of this drug is alluring.

Codeine is an opiate. Continuous use of this drug may develop a physical dependence on the users. For this reason, codeine is facing increasing restrictions in the pharmaceutical industry in recent times.

Why does someone become addicted to codeine?

Codeine is a comparatively safe drug to treat a cough or minor pain. Even so, it is important to fully restrict the non-prescription use of this pill.

Continuous use of this drug in high doses is dangerous.
The euphoric effect of this drug is highly alluring. The patient develops a tendency to continue with the use of this pill even after the completion of a course of treatment.

The use of codeine induces pleasant euphoric effects in the patient such as:

  • relaxation
  • drowsiness
  • happiness and excitement
  • soothing pain relief

Most patients become addicted to this medication unknowingly. Prolonged use of codeine under medical supervision develops a dependency on this drug.

Those addicted to this medication may exhibit addiction characteristics such as:

  • compulsive usage
  • withdrawal symptoms
  • increasing tolerance to the pill
  • craving for codeine in higher doses

Codeine addiction may also produce disorders like:

  • lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • exhibits strange behaviors in social relations
  • being secretive about activities
  • faulty decision making
  • compulsive use of codeine
  • a higher tendency to be irresponsible
  • mood swings
  • sleep disorders
  • cold sweats
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • nausea and vomiting

Dangers of codeine overdose

Overdosing or abusing codeine can produce fatal results in the user.

A single instance of overdosing can cause serious health hazards.
Respiratory failure is the most common side effect of misuse of codeine.

Major side effects of codeine overdose are brain injury, kidney and liver failure, seizures, hypothermia, a breakdown of skeletal muscles, and pulmonary edema.

If you see someone experiencing any of the signs of a codeine overdose, call 911 immediately.