Codeine cough syrup abuse in Nagpur

I was quite disturbed when I had found an empty codeine cough syrup bottle lying in Reshimbag ground[1] a few months ago.  It was apparent from its overall appearance that it was gulped as a single dose, clearly for recreational use.  As a medical graduate, I know what codeine is, how dangerous are it’s side effects, and how addictive it can be!  Over the last few months, the number of such empty bottles lying there have significantly increased and you can find several bottles thrown there on any given day.

Opioid-containing cough syrup bottles found at Reshimbag Ground

Opioid cough syrup bottles at Reshimbag Ground

Codeine is an opioid drug, which is used for symptomatic treatment of pain, dry cough, or severe diarrhea.  It’s primarily an analgesic that also suppresses cough and causes constipation as a side effect.  It is used as a symptomatic treatment of a nonproductive dry cough where the cough is so harsh that it causes pain with continuous coughing, even vomiting with cough, or sometimes even a rib fracture with severe bout of cough.  It is never used with mild cough or the cough productive of sputum.

Codeine is a weak opioid as compared to morphine, but quite harmful on it own account.  Drug abusers use it for the temporary euphoria it gives, but it is addictive and can cause severe physical and mental side effects.  Codeine causes drowsiness, even confusion, and hampers the ability of an individual to perform complex actions needing coordination such as driving or operating heavy machinery.  The effects of codeine get even more severe if it is combined with alcohol or other benzodiazepine drugs; and the user–if driving or operating heavy machinery–can be a great harm to himself and others.  At higher doses, codeine can cause respiratory distress, which can be life-threatening.

Codeine is addictive.  It does not leave the abuser easily.  It causes severe withdrawal symptoms if attempted to quit suddenly, with severe physical symptoms–even greater than mental symptoms–acute appetite loss, constipation, shivering, and most importantly drowsiness.[2]

Codeine is a prescription drug and should be used only if really needed.  There are a lot many safe cough syrups available and codeine-containing stuffs should be reserved for only when they are really indicated.  The bottles found at Reshimbag Ground must apparently be bought from some nearby medical shop.  Such higher-than-average sale of an opioid agent must not go unnoticed by the authorities.  It is quite concerning that your youth can get such addictive opioid at just 68.20 rupees a bottle.

Easy availability of codeine can attract new users to experiment with it, and newbies can soon be habitual users.  It is too easy to get addicted; detox is too difficult.  We don’t have good detox facilities, and a complete detox would need at least a month’s inpatient stay in the hospital.  Hope the authorities would notice it soon and curb any unindicated/over-the-counter use of opioid drugs.

1.  A well-known ground in Reshimbag, Nagpur, near Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha headquarters.
2.  See this personal experience by an addict on Yahoo Answers

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9 Responses to “Codeine cough syrup abuse in Nagpur”

  1. mayur hulsar Says:

    It was my last day in Banglore, my training from my company’s been through and I was living to Mumbai from an evening bus.

    I was not feeling well, and there was this sudden cough which I really wanted to get rid of. I went chemist and got codeine cough syrup. I came to my rest house, and felt to lazy to get a spoon so just put the bottle to my mouth. After this when I checked the bottle, I had gulped almost more than half the amount in one go…

    Then I felt so much drowsy that I didn’t even meet my friends who had come to say goodbye. My friend took me, just like I being a small kid to the mess, where I had food just like some drug addict, sleepy eyes and all. He dropped me to the bus stand and in a bus, but still I was feeling drowsy with a heavy head…

    It was not bad experience, kind of comic one. But its not a good thing considering all these bad effects. one must avoid any kind of drug addiction.

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Thanks Mayur for sharing your experience. I’m not opposing the use of the drug. It’s really a good drug when it’s really indicated. What we should make strict that it should not be available withour prescription and government should be watching if any doctor is overprescribing it. Presently, it seems like it’s a common racket by the medical shops and addicts.

  2. Teenage Saint Says:

    So this is serious? When I was in 9th standard I had heard a conversation between my friends about how taking a cough syrup named Torex gave them some kind of intoxication which they really enjoyed!!!

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Teenage Saint, I’m really surprised to know that even teenagers abuse cough syrups. How can the pharmacists dispense drugs them without a prescription, to children of about mere 15? If this is the case in New Delhi (if i’m not wrong, you’re from there), then let alone thinking about the rest of the country!
      Thanks for sharing!

  3. natural cough syrup Says:

    natural cough syrup…

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  4. eberechukwu Says:

    Am addicted to emzolyn with codeine

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      So nice of you to realize it and confess about it. Hope you find the same courage quitting it! Give a push and you’ll be clean. Do let me know of your progress and new bright life 🙂

  5. Jestine Hupman Says:

    Coughing is the body’s way of removing foreign material or mucus from the lungs and upper airway passages camera or of reacting to an irritated airway. Coughs have distinctive traits you can learn to recognize. A cough is only a symptom, not a disease, and often the importance of your cough can be determined only when other symptoms are evaluated..

    Take a look at all of the most up to date post at our new internet page

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