The opioid epidemic affects Colorado just as it does other parts of the country. Getting proper treatment is key to countering the epidemic. If you or someone you know misuses codeine, there are options available for codeine addiction treatment. When opioid use starts negatively impacting your life or the life of a loved one, you should consider inpatient rehab treatment.

What is Codeine?

Codeine is a prescription opioid medication usually used to treat coughs and sometimes pain. Codeine works by interacting with mu-opioid receptors on brain cells (neurons). Medical experts do not understand why the drug works for treating coughs. Because codeine is an opioid, the risk of addiction comes with the drug’s use. Codeine addiction can happen with short- or long-term use.

How is Codeine Supplied?

Codeine usually comes as a cough syrup mixed with other ingredients, but can also come in other formulations. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has schedules for controlled prescription medications.

Codeine comes in different forms. The DEA places codeine formulations into schedules based on how abusable it is:

  • Codeine tablets: Schedule II. Codeine is not very potent compared to other opioids, so it is not prescribed very often.
  • Acetaminophen and codeine tablet (Tylenol #2, Tylenol #3, or Tylenol #4): Schedule III. Codeine and acetaminophen tablets are used for treating pain. These are commonly prescribed in the community. Acetaminophen is added to help prevent abuse because taking too many causes gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like an upset stomach. It can also cause liver damage and acetaminophen overdose symptoms.
  • Acetaminophen and codeine syrup: Schedule V. This syrup formulation is scheduled lower than tablets because liquid drugs are harder to abuse. A person can only fit so much liquid in their stomach.
  • Guaifenesin and codeine syrup: Schedule V. Guaifenesin is a mucolytic (medication that breaks up mucus). However, it does not prevent abuse like acetaminophen. The lower scheduling for this formulation is because the concentration is low.
  • Promethazine and codeine syrup: Schedule V. Promethazine is another medication that prevents coughing. The concentration of codeine in promethazine is low, resulting in lower scheduling.

Codeine Treatment

If you think you might have an addiction to codeine, treatment for detox and withdrawal is supportive care to consider. Methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone helps treat withdrawal symptoms of opioids but is too strong for codeine. In the case of codeine detox and withdrawal, these medications are more potent than codeine, so they are not used to manage withdrawal symptoms. The body removes codeine in less than 24 hours in most cases.

Codeine addiction treatment options include both outpatient and inpatient rehab.

Inpatient and Outpatient Codeine Addiction Treatment

Outpatient care is less restrictive than inpatient. In many cases, it is safe to withdraw from codeine in the outpatient setting.

For severe cases of codeine misuse where the misuse is long-term, inpatient rehab may be more appropriate. Inpatient rehab includes several specialists to help treat you mentally, physically, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually. This setting is more intense but often more effective.

How long is inpatient treatment for codeine addiction? Treatment can last from weeks to years depending on a person’s needs.

Codeine Addiction Treatment Centers in Colorado

If you are considering inpatient rehab for yourself or a loved one, consider the following traits of a reputable rehab facility:

  • Comfort: Choose a facility that the prospective patient feels comfortable to help facilitate the healing process.
  • Follow-up support: Does the facility have structural support in the community? A large health system with outpatient follow-up facilitates healing. If the rehab facility is not part of a larger health system, make sure they have strong ties to community mental health.
  • Location: How close is it to family? How close is it to addiction triggers like friends that use drugs or alcohol? The facility should be close to healthy support systems and away from triggers.
  • Treatment Approach: What kind of treatment does the staff use? Do they stay up to date with the most recent evidence-based medicine? While some older treatment models may work for some people, rehabilitation is not the same for everyone. The education and treatment approach of the medical staff is critical.

The more comfortable a patient is within their treatment, the more likely the treatment will succeed in helping the patient achieve long-term sobriety. Taking these elements into consideration can drastically help you or a loved one prosper in treatment.

Does Insurance Cover Rehab for Codeine Addiction

In general, yes, insurance does cover codeine rehab. However, there is no easy answer to this question because all insurance companies are different. You can call your insurance carrier to learn about your coverage.

Codeine addiction is serious and can lead to death if left untreated. If you have questions about codeine, opioid medications or addiction in general, contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake to speak with a representative about how codeine addiction treatment can help you. You deserve a healthier future, call today.


Drug Enforcement Administration. “Drug Scheduling.” 2019. Accessed May 8, 2019.

Food and Drug Administration. “Codeine Package Insert.” 2009. Accessed May 8, 2019.

Takahama, Kazuo, and Tetsuya Shirasaki. “Central and Peripheral Mechanisms of Narcotic “Antitussives: Codeine-Sensitive and -Resistant Coughs.” 2007, Accessed May 8, 2019.