Codeine Drug Laws in California

Codeine is a controlled substance or a drug/narcotic for which the manufacture, possession and use is regulated under the Controlled Substances Act of the United States.

By itself, Codeine is a schedule II drug. This means that this drug has a high potential for abuse and is accepted for medical use under strict limitations because of the severe psychological and physical effects when abused. When mixed with other drugs, the drug can either be a schedule III or schedule V drug. As a schedule III drug, there is a high potential for abuse but less than schedules I and II but because of its medical use properties can lead to moderate or low physical dependence but high psychological dependence when abused. As a schedule V drug, there is a low potential for abuse relative to other controlled substances, with a currently abused medical use and has a limited dependence when abused.

The law criminalizes the use, possession and/or sales of codeine without a valid prescription, unless the same has been sold through an over the counter formula preparation.

The drug is considered abused when the drug is ingested beyond the legitimate purposes it was to serve. There are many health issues that can result because of the narcotic properties of the drug codeine. These include kidney and/or liver damage, internal bleeding of the stomach, nausea, lowered heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations and depression.

The following are the specific laws relating to codeine:

  • Sec 11350 of the Health and Safety Code or Possession of a Controlled Substance Law. This prohibits possession of a codeine without a valid prescription. Other included narcotics are cocaine, opiates and opiate derivatives, heroin, peyote, GHB and Vicodin. Other laws include Proposition 36, Sec 1000 of the California Penal Code and other drug crimes.
  • Sec 11351 of the Health and Safety Code or Possession or Purchase of Codeine for Sale Law. This is committed when the possession or purchase of codeine has with it the intent to resell the narcotic. When convicted of this crime, the individual faces two or three or four years in state penitentiary and a maximum fine of $20,000.
  • Sec 11352 of the Health and Safety Code or Transporting or Selling Codeine Law. When convicted of this crime, the individual faces a felony charge and is punishable between three to five years in state penitentiary and a maximum fine of $20,000. When the said act crosses at least two county lines, the individual faces three, six or nine years in state prison and the same fine.
  • Sec 11550 of the Health and Safety Code or Being Under the Influence of Codeine or Controlled Substance Law. The requirement is the impairment of physical or mental abilities in any detectable manner because of the drug. This misdemeanor offense leads to possible jail time or drug diversion.

The crime of codeine drug possession is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.