Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Discussion - Should Codeine be Banned? Or Prescription Only?

So, you've got a headache or some back pain that you can't seem to swat away with the help of regular Panadol (Paracetamol) so the next step is to take some kind of pain killer with Codeine in it. You purchased this packet from your Chemist in the same way that you purchased your toothpaste or your Panadol, there's no warnings on the package telling you about any dangers or problems that this product may have and so you keep a packet around the house just in case all the time.  I'm certain that this is a normal thing for very many people because in every house I've ever been to people seem to always have some of this lying around for the occasional use.

But did you know how dangerous the use of a product like this can be?  Did you know that it is ruining the lives so many people that roughly 1.3 million packets of the stuff are sold in Australia per month?  Perhaps some of you do, perhaps some of you don't.



Because, in Australia there is no law requiring that this medicine be marked as "addictive" the companies that provide the drug just don't do it. But now, since I'm writing this article on the stuff I have had a quick look around the world and elsewhere it is listed with a warning label (see the UK Packaging below), this should be the way that it's packaged throughout the world but there is no "addiction" warning on the packet in Australia which is the height of evil business practice in our perfect opinion.


You may or may not know that Codeine is a Morphine product and is converted into Morphine by the liver after consumption and we all know that Morphine is addictive, I mean it is one step down from Heroin.  Isn't that just crazy? This box of tablets that is available to anyone over the counter at a chemist in Australia has no warnings on the box and requires the vigilance of the chemist to ensure that it isn't abused by the customer in most cases no records are taken, a few questions are asked and away anyone can walk with a box of what is essentially morphine.

As someone who is recovering from a long period of addiction to this evil shit I think I am more than qualified to say that it is far, far to easy to get hold of this.  Something that is far more addictive and problematic than both Alcohol and Tobacco and it has no age restriction.  It's as simple as chemist hopping from one to the next so that you're never using the same place more often than they are allowed to sell to you.

The only thing that changed in recent years is the amount that a person can purchase in a single visit to a chemist.  The stuff used to come in boxes of 96 however the maximum allowed per purchase is 30 tablets now.  But by the time this restriction was put in place I was already heavily addicted and it just made my 'rounds' become harder and longer and more painful.

One of these suckers is the equivalent to roughly 2mg of Oral Morphene.
During my period of heavy addiction to Nurofen Plus (I was also taking other types, Panafen Plus and the Chemist Brand types of the same medication), my addiction started because I was getting migraines very often (two or three times a week).  During these times I was also pushing myself through incredibly busy periods at the job I was working at the time and I couldn't afford to be taken out of action for two days twice a week because of Migraine.  The only way to counter this was to smash down a bunch of Nurofen Plus whenever I had a migraine, and then for the day after that.

Over a relatively short period of time I became addicted before I was even aware of it and if you've never experienced the withdrawals from an opiate based product count yourself lucky because it still makes me physically sick to think about to this day.  Perhaps the worst thing is that it is possible to function like a normal human while addicted to these, just taking more and more each day as your tolerance increases but for me, I personally broke after about two and a half years of constant consumption.

Stay away from these stronger medications wherever possible and be warned about their addictive properties and just how dangerous that they can be, because once you're addicted to them once for any period of time it will be something that weighs you down for the rest of your life and it's a lot easier to become addicted to something like this that you think is safe because you purchased it from the chemist.

Personally I believe that it is incredibly evil for these companies to mark the product addictive in other countries, but then go out of their way to remove that warning from the package design used in Australia because you better believe that it is deliberate.

This is a problem that affects more Australians than I think most people would realise or understand. I have found statistics that say more than 1.3 million packets of this stuff are sold each month in Australia. I have been in Chemists for other things since recovering from this horrible addiction  (though as good as the progress has been you can never truly escape from it) and have witnessed many other people buying this stuff and having chemist hopped myself you can just tell when someone is an addict and doing their chemist hopping rounds - I don't know for sure but judging at the rate in which the stock is used at places like Chemist Warehouse I wouldn't be surprised if it's one of their top sellers.

This product should be labelled with the addiction warning in Australia at the very least and it is my opinion that it should only be sold upon prescription from a Chemist.  It's really no different to the Benzodiazapine range or even the stronger opiate pain killers that ARE already prescription based. So what do you think?  It is fair to make it harder for those who may use this product responsibly in order to try and reduce the instances of addiction among the population?