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Codeine is a naturally occurring substance of the opium poppy Papaver Somniferum. Its euphoric and analgesic effects are mild; its clinical uses are in the management of mild to moderate pain and the control of cough. Tolerance to the main effects of codeine tends to develop gradually, and physical dependence on it occurs infrequently. However, a definite withdrawal syndrome can occur after chronic high-dose abuse (ie, daily doses in excess of the therapeutic range); its symptoms are similar to but less intense than those occurring during withdrawal from morphine.

Because of the mildness of its desired effects and its potentially dangerous side effects at high doses (eg, seizures), codeine is rarely the drug of choice for experienced abusers of narcotic analgesics. Codeine can be obtained in Canada and in some areas of the U.S. without prescription under certain restricted conditions (for example, there are small amounts per unit dose in certain drug combination products); at such dose levels, however, it is unlikely to attract significant abuse.

Excerpt from page 245 of Drugs and Drug Abuse by

Codeine, opium, narcotic, analgesic