How Much Weaker is Codeine Compared to Heroin?

Codeine is an opioid that is used as a cough and pain suppressant. When compared to heroin it is weaker, but by how much is it?

Prescription opioids are narcotic pain relievers that can cause physical dependence and addiction. There are various types of opioid prescriptions, such as tablets, capsules, syrups, solutions, and suppositories. Opioids suppress pain sensations and the emotional response to pain at low doses. 

Additionally, they can cause euphoria, drowsiness, relaxation, dilated pupils, a slight decrease in respiration rate, nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, and sweating. Higher doses produce more intense and longer-lasting effects. Codeine is considered one of the least potent prescription opioids but still causes a person to feel high and get addicted.

How Much Weaker is Codeine Compared to Heroin?

How Many Different Types of Prescription Opioids Are There?

There are many prescription opioid medications that are mainly used to minimize pain. Some are prescribed to reduce cough and diarrhea as one of the main side effects of all opioids is constipation. Codeine is a less potent pain killer that is usually prescribed as a cough suppressant and for treating diarrhea or minor pain from dental procedures. The list of opioids presently prescribed includes Codeine and are as follows: 

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone 
  • Hydromorphone 
  • Meperidine 
  • Methadone 
  • Morphine 
  • Oliceridine
  • Oxycodone 
  • Fentanyl

How Does Heroin Compare to Codeine and Other Prescription Opioids?

When comparing heroin to prescription opioids, the medical community usually references morphine to gauge how potent a prescription will be, allowing them to prescribe it safely. Therefore, to understand how Codeine compares to heroin, it is necessary to see how morphine compares to heroin and then Codeine. Heroin is 25 times more potent than morphine. And morphine is 20 times stronger than Codeine. So, if someone uses heroin and has only used Codeine, they will be adding approximately a 50 times more potent dose to their system and likely overdose and die. 

Nearly 500,000 people died from overdoses involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids, from 1999-2019. (CDC)

How Do Doctors Determine What Types of Prescription Opioid To Give Someone?

The Centers for Disease Control provide detailed guidelines on how and when a medical doctor should prescribe an opioid for pain. Doctors are obligated by law to follow the CDC recommendations for legal purposes and good faith. The excerpt is one from a several hundred-page guideline document. 

When starting opioid therapy for chronic pain, clinicians should prescribe immediate-release opioids instead of extended-release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioids. When opioids are started, clinicians should prescribe the lowest effective dosage. Clinicians should use caution when prescribing opioids at any dosage, should carefully reassess evidence of individual benefits and risks when increasing dosage. (CDC)

What Happens When Someone Gets Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms From Codeine?

Codeine withdrawal symptoms are difficult to cope with without medical assistance. The following symptoms are usually what prevent anyone addicted or physically dependent on Codeine to stop:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea 
  • Depression, insomnia, and anxiety 
  • Emotional instability and agitation 
  • Symptoms of the flu (cough, fever, chills, and uncontrollable sneezing) 
  • Sweats and dehydration 
  • Sound and light sensitivity

Does On Call Treatment Provide Same-Day Admission And Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Yes, On Call treatment centers are overseen by medical doctors specializing in Codeine and other opioid addictions, including heroin and Fentanyl. As soon as an individual is admitted to the detox center, they are assessed, medicated, and monitored 24 hours a day. Medication-assisted treatment enables the individual to recover from opioid withdrawal symptoms and sustain their long recovery term. As a result, we can help you or your family member end the addiction to Codeine or other opioids today.