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Australian Rapper 360 Talks Codeine

Australian Rapper 360 Talks Codeine

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Codeine-based products are still allowed to be sold over the counter in a few countries of the Western world, including Australia. For some time now there has been organized efforts to change this policy, with many making a call to action to have codeine-based medicines restricted to requiring a prescription. Codeine is no stranger to the hip-hop world, so the following story should not come as much of a surprise.

Matthew Colwell is a Melbourne-based ARIA award winning rap artists who goes by the name 360, and over the weekend 360 posted a song to his social media accounts that detailed the devastation caused in his own life by his codeine addiction, including depictions of his overdose on Nurofen Plus medication. This song has ignited another upsurge of avocation for regulation on codeine, and the story itself is a powerful one.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) just recently announced that it would be moving to make a final decision on the classification of codeine towards the middle of 2016, and some are using their own brand of influence to speak out and inspire change.

360 Says “I’m Sorry”

Last January the multi-platinum hip-hop artist was on the last stretch of his tour, but he pulled out of the final 13 shows. While the real reasoning behind these cancelations was mostly conjecture for a while, the musician finally made his confession in the song titled “I’m Sorry” that he had overdoses on Nurofen Plus, saying in his lyrics he was taking 90 pills daily.

In the song 360 states:

“I was a zombie, I couldn’t feel nothing. I smashed four packets because I just wanted to feel something.

“Yo, I overdosed for sure, I was at the venue, I was going to perform,

“I can’t remember, see I was told in a report my tour manager found me convulsing on the floor…”

The song is a pretty intense listen. I know when I checked it out and related it to my personal experience it gave me a dose of the chills. On the track 360 refers to the easy availability of codeine-based drugs, and how the open access helped his addiction develop. In one line he said:

“That’s the thing with a codeine addiction, it’s over the counter so you don’t need prescriptions.”

And with his confession and public apology to his fans, 360 got a few more people in Australia talking about the issue with codeine addiction and how the over the counter status made it a more dangerous threat.

Making the Call

Dr. Suzanne Nielsen works for the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. When discussing 360’s message during an interview she admitted that the rappers experience with codeine was not as uncommon as many may think. Dr. Nielsen pointed out that most countries do have prescription policies for codeine, and only a small number don’t.

So considering the nature of the drug, and the fact that codeine addiction is really not all that new, you would think this was a no-brainer decision.

Last year the TGA even published a report recommending the change to prescription only access to codeine-based drugs. But then in November the TGA decided to defer the final verdict on the topic until mid-2016, meaning even if it decided to make codeine prescription only, it would still not have any effect until 2017.

Although that seems like a dismal time-frame, Dr. Nielsen said her hope was that pharmacists would use this time to improve their processes around the sale of codeine products.

Codeine is not harmless, and has gained some notoriety for the possibility of abuse and the effects it causes. Like other opiates, codeine can depress breathing and other body systems. Increasing doses may first cause restlessness and nausea, then loss of consciousness and abnormal breathing. Fatal overdoses do occur, sometimes even with moderate doses, so the more people recognize the dangers of codeine, the better.

In his video, 360 thanked his fans and family who stood by him through this painful period. He even made his own call to action for the struggling addict in his lyrics when he said,

“The battle with addiction is a battle on its own, the worst part is I tried to battle it alone.

So if you’re hearing this and you’re battling at home, tell somebody because your family should know.”

Addiction can strike anyone at any time, and no matter the circumstances it can quickly feel like you are helpless and alone in the fight. But you are not alone. There are thousands of people out there working every single day to save lives of people who struggle with all different kinds of drug addiction.

Holistic healing is about treating the entire person- mind, body and spirit to help them face every aspect of life in recovery. So many people don’t know about the help that is out there, but the more we talk about it the more aware people become of the truth… that there is help

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