FRANCIS EZEDIUNO writes about the abuse of prescription of everyday medicine, including paracetamol, tramadol, codeine-based cough syrup and even sweet like TomTom amongst others.
For years, the Nigerian government has waged relentless war against drug abuse. A time was when narcotic peddling and trafficking carried a death sentence. It seems the battle against narcotic had been won but another battle ground has been opened and that is the battle against abuse of prescription of everyday medicine.
Why it is somehow difficult to fight this battle due to the fact that these drugs are under the essential ones. It sounds unbelievable that every day drugs like paracetamol, tramadol, codeine-based cough syrup and even sweets like TomTom can be abused. This is the ingenuity of the Nigerian youth at its worst.
We have even heard of cases of antibiotics and antiretroviral drugs used in the management of HIV amongst the class of medicines abused by these youths.
The government may have hitherto been in denial but the recent exposure by the British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC] and subsequent special edition of Aljazeera Stream, where the issue was brought up has further made it imperative to visit this epidemic of epic proportion waiting to explode.
Although, the Federal Government had taken some steps in ordering the stoppage of the use of codeine and Biolin in the manufacture of cough syrups in the country and the Government even went as far as temporarily closing down operation at some of the implicated pharmaceutical companies but to the greatest surprise, the same authorities has lifted ban on the stoppage of work placed on Emzor Pharmacuetical Company but the local ones are believed to still be under lock and key. Why?
We need to visit this burning issue for the sake of today’s and our children coming after. For if not, I pray it will not overwhelm us. If we say cocaine and heroine are expensive narcotics, what about codeine-based cough syrups, gum, lizard faeces, rephnol, tramadol, stale urine, pawpaw leaves, freely distributed HIV anti-retroviral drugs, paracetamol and a host of other drugs that can be purchased from any pharmaceutical or patent store?
It makes you high after ingestion and it is variously seen in clubs amongst the youths which President Muhammadu Buhari brazenly referred to as lazy, being consumed in clubs mixed with Coca-Cola and other types of beverages to form a powerful cocktail.
It is also seen amongst youths mixed with ice blocks and served in street corners where youths sometimes gather in the cool of the evening to let off steam.
Students of higher colleges in order to prove their mettle also take it just to show that they have arrived as ‘bigger boys’ and have now achieved independence from the watchful eyes of their parents.
It is in liquid form and it was intended to serve as a means of temporary sedation from the pain of cough that sometimes afflict children as well as the old. What am I referring to here? I am talking about CODEINE!
Codeine is an opiate used to treat pain as a cough medicine and for diarrhea. It is typically used to treat mild to moderate degrees of pain. It starts working after half an hour with maximum effect at two hours. The total duration of kits effect last for about four to six hours.
As with other opiate based pain killers, chronic use of codeine can cause physical dependence.
No wonder Olamide Badoo just released a recent hit song titled, ‘Science Student’, a song which was subsequently banned from the airwaves by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission [NBC].
The other toughens the addict up; it is usually maintained that regular intake of it gives extra strength and energizes the addict, gives extra strength for work and boosts sexual urge.
Its use is common amongst people engaged in extra physical works like labourers and those involved in engineering manual labour works.
Amongst students, the use is also common just to prove that they are ‘macho’ enough so the girl in