Codeine is an opioid pain reliever used to treat mild to moderately severe pain. It is also used, usually in combination with other medications, to reduce coughing. Codeine is available as a single-ingredient product, or in combination with acetaminophen or aspirin, and in some cough and cold medications.
A heroin (diamorphine) or other opiate/opioid addict may use codeine to ward off the effects of withdrawal during periods where their preferred drug is unavailable or unaffordable.
Codeine is also available in conjunction with the anti-nausea medication promethazine in the form of a syrup. Brand named as Phenergan with Codeine or in generic form as promethazine with codeine. In the 1990s it started to be mixed with soft drinks to be used as a recreational drug and was called ‘syrup’, ‘lean’, or ‘purple drank.’ Rapper Pimp C, from the group UGK, died from an overdose of this combination.
Codeine is used in illegal drug laboratories to make morphine.