Home > Codeine use, dependence and help-seeking behaviour in the UK and Ireland: an online cross-sectional survey.

Kimergård, Andreas and Foley, Michelle and Davey, Zoe and Dunne, Jacklyn and Drummond, Colin and Deluca, Paolo (2017) Codeine use, dependence and help-seeking behaviour in the UK and Ireland: an online cross-sectional survey. QJM , 110 , (9) , pp. 559-564.

Background: Codeine misuse and dependence poses a clinical and public health challenge. However, little is known about dependence and treatment needs in the UK and Ireland.

Aim: To characterise codeine use, dependence, and help-seeking behaviour.

Design: An online cross-sectional survey advertised on Facebook, Twitter, health and drug websites and e-mail circulars.

Methods: The survey collected data on demographics and codeine use amongst adults from the UK and Ireland. The Severity of Dependence Scale measured the level of codeine dependence.

Results: The sample of 316 respondents had a mean age of 35.3 years (SD = 12.3) and 67% were women. Of the 316 respondents, 54 scored ≥5 on the Severity of Dependence Scale indicating codeine dependence (17.1%). Our study found that codeine dependence is a problem with both prescribed and 'over-the-counter' codeine. Codeine dependence was associated with daily use of codeine, faking or exaggerating symptoms to get a prescription for codeine and 'pharmacy shopping' (P < 0.01). A higher number of respondents had sought advice on the Internet (12%) rather than from their general medical practitioner (GP) (5.4%). Less than 1% of respondents had sought advice from a pharmacist.

Conclusions: Codeine dependent users were more likely to seek help on the Internet to control their use of codeine than from a GP, which may indicate a potential for greater specialised addiction treatment demand through increased identification and referrals in primary care.


Item Type:Article
Date:2017
Page Range:pp. 559-564
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Volume:110
Number:9
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Problem substance use
B Substances > Opioids (opiates) > Opioid product > Codeine
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Substance by legal status > Over the counter drug (medicine / medication)
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Substance by legal status > Prescription drug (medicine / medication)
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom

Click here to request a copy of this literature

Repository Staff Only: item control page