How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your System?

“Every form of addiction is bad, whether the narcotic is alcohol, morphine, or idealism,” says Carl Jung.

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

The latest statistics suggest that about 33 million Americans use cocaine yearly for non-medical purposes.

Usually, a person starts using codeine as a codeine-based prescription drug. Because of the opiate content in it, some 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 codeine stays in your body if you already use or intend to use it.

What is codeine?

Codeine is an opioid analgesic drug typically prescribed for mild to moderate pain.

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

When used as prescribed, codeine improves the quality of life for people who constantly suffer pain.

It is a narcotic drug that contains opioids such as opium and heroin in a mild form. However, the opioid contents of 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 and effects of codeine last only for four to six hours.

Codeine is a Schedule II drug with abuse potential. Many codeine users develop severe physical or psychological dependence in the long run. Using this drug and other analgesic medications like Tylenol increases the chances of dependence.

What is lean codeine?

Lean—also known as a purple drink, 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 lean drinks contain codeine. Lean codeine is another name for such drinks.

Metabolism of codeine

Like every other opioid, codeine is metabolized by the liver after you consume it. It happens rather quickly.

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 time it takes for the concentration or amount of drug in the plasma to be reduced by half.

As per our 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 much longer. 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 of ingesting. However, a few traces of this medication remain in various systems for a long time.

Codeine is detectable in your body through common drug testing methods, namely, blood, urine, saliva, or hair.

How long does codeine stay in your system?

You may wonder how long codeine stays in your body. We can understand this by looking at how the body processes codeine and how different clinical tests can trace the presence of codeine in your system.

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

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

Those addicted to this drug may mix it with soda or other popular soda-based cold medicines like Sizzurp, Lean, Double Cups, Purple Drank, or syrup. Codeine is also easily available in cold medicines such as Cody, Schoolboy, and T-Three.

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

The detection period for codeine

A variety of factors influence the detection period of cocaine in a person’s system. Some of those leading factors are:

  • Duration of using codeine
  • A dose of codeine is 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 for 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.

A positive test for codeine use may result in a referral to an opioid addiction treatment program.

Here are estimated detection windows in which different types of drug tests can detect codeine:

Urine test

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

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

Blood test

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

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

Blood testing is not a reliable drug testing method for tracing codeine in your system.

Saliva test

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

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

Hair test 

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

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

However, drug residues take more than ten days 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 in the users. For this reason, codeine has recently faced increasing restrictions in the pharmaceutical industry.

Why does someone become addicted to cocaine?

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

Continuous use of this drug in high doses is dangerous.

The euphoric effect of this drug is highly alluring. The patient tends to continue using this pill even after completing 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 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 their 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

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options. To overcome withdrawal symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a suitable over-the-counter medication.

Dangers of codeine overdose

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

A single instance of overdosing can cause serious health hazards.

Respiratory failure is the most common side effect of the misuse of codeine.

Major side effects of a 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.

Read next: Dangers of mixing Xanax and Alcohol