How do I get the happy pills?
February 15, 2009 9:30 PM   Subscribe

I might be going to Vancouver, BC tomorrow. I would like to purchase some Tylenol with codeine pills (222s) while there, but I am not sure how it all works. Help!

I have been to Vancouver, BC several times to visit and shop but I've never purchased the infamous 222's (Tylenol with codeine).

I'm a bit nervous/unsure/naive about the whole thing (and I have a strong desire to not make a fool of myself).

Some questions I have: Is it still possible to purchase these pills OTC at the pharmacy? What specifically (proper name) do I ask for? How much can I purchase? Do I have to provide personal information to a pharmacist? Will I have border issues (I'm a U.S. citizen)? Do I have to declare the pills? Anything else that I should know?

Your help is, as always, greatly appreciated. Thanks MeFites!
posted by karizma to Shopping (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hi, you simply proceed to the local drug store, and ask the pharmacist for Tylenol (or generic) with codeine. Mention the Tylenol with codeine if asked, but it usually is never an issue.
Don't be nervous. Remember it is just Tylenol with codeine. :)
posted by strangelove at 9:50 PM on February 15, 2009


"...Mention the Tylenol with codeine..." to customs, if asked...
posted by strangelove at 9:52 PM on February 15, 2009


Can you get benzodiazepenes the same way? Specificially alprazolam aka xanax? Or diazepam aka valium? not to be off topic...
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 10:03 PM on February 15, 2009


When I was in the US last, I dropped by the local Wal-Mart and asked the pharmacist for "something with codeine" in it. You should have seen the look she gave me.

I find it unusual the US has banned it in non-prescription drugs. You can buy it over the counter here (in Australia) no problem, and we have just as rigorous public health service. Indeed, "Panafen" has 500mg of Paracetamol and 18mg of codeine. Quite a kicker!
posted by Mephisto at 10:15 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


To christhelongtimelurker: nope, you need an Rx for those in every Canadian province.
posted by thisjax at 10:29 PM on February 15, 2009


Can I get one as a US citizen?
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 10:31 PM on February 15, 2009


I'll just write an ask mefi once I'm able to...
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 10:32 PM on February 15, 2009


Most common analgesics can be found on the shelves, but acetaminophen with codeine (the generic and less expensive form) is held behind the counter. All you have to do is ask a member of the pharmacy staff - quite routine and unremarkable. You can purchase as much as you want.
posted by Neiltupper at 10:55 PM on February 15, 2009


strangelove has it right, in that this is a very easy process. You just ask the pharmacist. Just realize that, while it's an OTC medication in Canada, it's not going to be out on display with the other drugs. It's literally an over-the-counter med, in that you have to ask for it, because it's kept behind the counter.

Some questions I have: Is it still possible to purchase these pills OTC at the pharmacy? What specifically (proper name) do I ask for? How much can I purchase? Do I have to provide personal information to a pharmacist? Will I have border issues (I'm a U.S. citizen)? Do I have to declare the pills? Anything else that I should know?

Answers in order: Yes. Tylenol (or acetaminophen) with codeine. As much as you like, although they might look sideways at you if you ask to buy an entire case. No. No. Yes (but again, they'll only look sideways at you if you're bringing in a case of it; you are allowed to bring in a "reasonable amount."). Nope, there's nothing to it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:56 PM on February 15, 2009


To christhelongtimelurker: nope, you need an Rx for those in every Canadian province.

Wrong, Tylenol 1s, which are the "222s" the OP is referring to are available behind the counter without a prescription- at least in Ontario. I wouldn't be so sure about getting them back home scot-free, mind you.
posted by sunshinesky at 11:02 PM on February 15, 2009


sunshinesky: It wasn't an answer to the OP. christhelongtimelurker was talking about benzodiazepines. Tylenol you can get, benzos you can't.
posted by thisjax at 11:06 PM on February 15, 2009


I believe thisjax's answer regarding prescriptions was addressing christheltl's question about benzos, not codeine. Yes, prescription needed for benzos; no, prescription not needed for codeine.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:11 PM on February 15, 2009


. . .prescription not needed for codeine

There are various strengths of acetaminophen and codeine available in Canada. A prescription is need for anything with more than 8 mg of codeine
posted by Neiltupper at 11:43 PM on February 15, 2009


As others have said, it's BTC, which means that there needs to be a member of the pharmacy staff present to ask. Go when it's quiet, but not so quiet that the pharmacy clocks off.

(On the flipside, naproxen is prescription-only in Canada; Aleve can and will be confiscated by customs if residents take it north of the border.)
posted by holgate at 12:25 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


A prescription is need for anything with more than 8 mg of codeine

Also, non-prescription medication containing codeine has to contain at least two other active ingredients. The 222's (Tylenol #1, etc.) have both acetaminophen and caffeine.
posted by winston at 5:20 AM on February 16, 2009


If you're getting these pills for recreational use, do a cold water extraction. Acetaminophen is bad shit at the levels you'd have to ingest to get a good buzz off the codeine.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:35 AM on February 16, 2009


(Please allow me to say as a migraine sufferer with annoying, annoying drug difficulties -- some work on me and some just don't, no rhyme or reason to it -- THANK YOU, CANADA. I stock up every time I'm in Ontario for both me and my similarly-genetically-'blessed' father).

It's dead easy to ask at the pharmacy counter, at least everywhere I've been in Toronto.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2009


Ten years ago, a coworker told me customs only let him bring 50 tablets into the US. The officer took the other bottle and he watched her flush them down the toilet. For some reason, she also wanted to see the receipt. I guess it was to make sure that was all he bought at that trip.
posted by faceonmars at 6:12 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok, so I made my trip and here's the deal - you are allowed one bottle of 50 pills per person to take across the border (Canada to US). The generic bottle I purchased was about $7.50 Canadian. As others have indicated, you do have to ask a pharmacist for it, and they don't seem to mind whatsoever. It's acetaminophen with codeine (8mg) and caffeine.

Thanks for your help, everyone.
posted by karizma at 1:01 PM on February 17, 2009


Karizma - was the qty count on the bottle you purchased 50 qty? Like bitter-girl, I am a migraine sufferer and Tylenol w/Codeine is one of the few things that actually works for me. I have a prescription for it here in the US, but because of the rules and restrictions, I can only get a few at a time, which is a tremendous hassle (especially when you don't have any on-hand and have a crushing headache and have to go into the doctor's office to get a special Rx form and then go to the pharmacy, which takes hours...).

I live close to Mexico and you can buy ANYTHING over the counter there, but I have heard that Tylenol w/Codeine costs about $1 per pill there, which is pretty pricey (and the border pharmacies are shady). But if you're able to get 50 qty in Canada for $7.50, that's a reasonable deal! Next time I'm in Canada, I'll have to look into it.
posted by giddygirlie at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2009


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