The Chemistry of Codeine


Codeine is an opiate that is used to treat pain as a cough syrup. Once the codeine is consumed into the body, it then turns into morphine. I chose this topic because I wanted to see what codeine is made of, and how it can be turned into a drug, also known as “purple drank”. My life is affected by it each day because all of us have used some form of cough syrup in our life, whether it be robitussin or hydrocodone we use it.Composition of ...Formula: C18H21NO3

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

-Poppy Plant

A plant that naturally produces opium, it grows wild in eastern and western Asia, South Eastern Europe, and it is thought to be originated from the Mediterranean


Naturally found in opium, which is made from a poppy plant

Chemistry's Role

Poppy plant is a natural plant found in Europe or Asia. Naturally alkaloid is produced from a poppy plant, which opium is produced from alkaloid. However, codeine was discovered when Robiquet tried to isolate morphine from opium, which created Codeine. It plays a role in chemistry because Robiquet chemically had to separate morphine from opium amirite.

Background Research

Codeine is an opiate, which is occurred naturally from alkaloids. Alkaloids are then found in a poppy plant, which is thought to be originated in the Mediterranean. Today it grows wild in Eastern and Western Asia and South Eastern Europe. When codeine is consumed into the body it then turns into morphine.


-Alkaloid’s origin place

-How it is naturally found in a poppy plant

-Where poppy plant is found

-How opium is made from it

-Composition of Codeine


-Found by Pierre Jean Robiquet in 1832

-Most commonly used opiate

-mostly used to treat pain as a cough medicine

-Once entered into the body it turns into morphine

-Mainly used to treat lightheadness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, sedation, allergic reactions, constipation, abdominal pain

-Very addictive

-Also known as purple drank

About the Author

Sydne Whitford is a junior at Billings Senior High. She enjoys spending time with her family, her friends, and her dog. She hopes to attend Montana State University in the future.