The reality of prescription drug addiction in Donegal

A combination of prescribed drugs and 'legal highs' found in one young man's room.

A combination of prescribed drugs and ‘legal highs’ found in one young man’s room.

By Cronan Scanlon

MORE and more young Donegal people are becoming addicted to a popular cough mixture, forcing some pharmacies to take the medicine off their shelves.


This week, one parent also tells the Donegal News about the nightmare of his son’s addiction to Codinex, an over-the-counter remedy that contains a morphine derivative called Codeine.

Codeine can be found in many painkillers such as Solpadeine and Nurofen Plus, however, Codinex is more popular with addicts due to its “purity”.

While it is perfectly legal to sell Codinex without prescription, a number of pharmacists told this paper they have been forced to take certain measures to prevent some people getting their hands on it.

One chemist even claimed that people were coming from outside the area with “forged prescriptions” in order to get it and other prescribed drugs.

“We prefer not to sell Codinex over the counter and offer a much less addictive alternative. We are very careful when it comes to selling anything containing Codeine,” one chemist explained.

Meanwhile one man, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, reveals the plight of parents trying to come to terms with this ‘acceptable’ drug.

“It’s hard to say exactly when Codinex came into the equation, but I know it followed legal highs and cannabis,” he explained.


“When confronted, he (his son) argued it was harmless. Now that the Codinex has come into play, his health has slowly got worse. The lethargy and deadpan existence is only temporarily ushered aside when, as a concerned parent, you threaten to kick his head in if he doesn’t stop. But as all parents in this situation know, this knee jerk reaction is useless and has the reverse effect.”

A spokesperson for the HSE said its Donegal Community Addiction Services are aware of Codeine Misuse, mainly Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine, in the adult population.

The confidential Drugs and Alcohol Helpline number is 1800 459 459 and an email support service can be contacted at from Monday to Friday – 9.30am to 5.30pm.

For the full report, see today’s Donegal News or subscribe to our digital edition.

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