Codeine is one of the milder opioid drugs. Because codeine has some cough suppressant abilities, it’s often used in syrups for treating severe coughs.
Cough syrup is also the chief form of codeine abuse: the syrup is mixed with soda and hard candy and then used recreationally. Known as “sizzurp,” “lean,” or “purple drank,” the mix has resulted in high-profile arrests of athletes and music figures.
Although a milder opioid than say, heroin, codeine abuse still comes with the risk of fatal overdose – especially when mixed with alcohol. Plus, codeine syrup is often mixed with promethazine, an antihistamine with dangerous side effects when abused.
Detoxing from codeine abuse, while milder than heroin, can still be a challenge. Medically supervised detox can help patients through the critical first steps of recovery.