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Codeine is an opiate drug that can be used for pain relief and also for suppressing coughs. When used to control pain, it works by affecting the central nervous system so that pain signals being sent from the body will be blocked. This blocking action causes the user to feel less pain, even if the original source of or reason for the pain remains.
Codeine also imitates the feelings that one receives from the release of endorphins. These are chemicals found naturally in one's body which, when released, can dull pain. As mentioned earlier, codeine also acts as a cough suppressant. It works by diminishing the urge to cough.
Codeine is very effective on moderate to severe pain as well as on coughs. Although medications containing codeine are available only by prescription, it is considered one of the weakest opioid medications that exist. This is why it is still widely prescribed for both pain relief and cough suppression even though its propensity for abuse is clearly known.
Codeine can be abused by people of all ages; however, its propensity for abuse has obviously become so prevalent among college students that two universities--Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania and Cedarville University in Ohio--considered it serious enough to include information about codeine use and abuse in their student handbooks. The information was quite thorough and included such things as signs of addiction, health risks and general information such as street names, how the drug is taken and symptoms and hazards of both use and abuse. Further, one of the universities went so far as to include the signs of withdrawal from codeine in its handbook. While not listed specifically in that particular publication, these include such things as profuse sweating, anxiety, nervousness and severe pain.
Information on addiction treatment was also included in these handbooks. The information included such things as where to go on campus to find out about abuse and addiction, as well as substance abuse treatment facilities and options. It is admirable that these two universities cared enough about their students to want to make this information available to them.
It is even more so when one learns that one of the universities is a faith-based college. It might be tempting for such an institution to "stick its head in the sand" and pretend that such things as codeine abuse does not exist, or would never happen on that campus. Rather than take that view, however, instead the university faced the problem head-on, and provided its students with usable facts, while at the same time making it plain that drug use and abuse of any kind would not be condoned.
It would seem, however, that the manner in which they did approach the problem of drug abuse would make a student more likely to seek addiction treatment if it occurred while they were a student at that college. For this, again, the college is to, and should be commended.