From time immemorial, drug abuse has been known to be a big menace to the society; even advanced countries are not left out in the dangerous habit that has the capacity of wreaking havoc to the populace of any country.
In Nigeria before now, Indian hemp usage was known to be the biggest deal in drug use, not until cocaine and heroin were introduced. Many people who were used to taking cannabis, simply graduated into taking cocaine and heroin which took its toll on the health, social and mental balance of most of the youths who got involved in the illicit drug use. Then, it got so bad that a kind of stigma was hanged on those involved in it and even death penalty was placed on those trading in it in order to dissuade many from the dangerous drugs.
Interestingly, just when several countries are battling to bring about a notable decrease or total eradication in the way youths abuse these afore mentioned drugs, many youths in Nigeria now are treading another perilous path with the introduction of medical products like Tramadol, Revlon, Codeine and other strong therapeutic drugs as their new stimulants. These drugs are now being abused by ever increasing youths in the country with an alarming addiction.
Normally, Codeine, Revnol, Tramadol are drugs that are used for medical solutions but this increasing number of youths are now taking delight in abusing these drugs to get high like the other drugs. How they came about the usage and its effect remains in the context of conjecture.
For instance, cough syrup, with codeine is used for the treatment of cough and related ailments. Codeine is primarily used to treat moderate pains and relieve cough. It is also used to treat diarrhea and predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Tramadol and Hydrocodone on the other hand are two potent pain relievers. They can be prescribed individually or as combination of drugs. These drugs have a powerful effect on the brain. They’re both highly effective pain relievers but work in different ways and come with their own side effects. But these youths have found it as their new mood changer and they expend lots of money to get their desired state.
Meanwhile, Tramadol has two different actions in the body; it is an opioid analgesic, which means that it attaches to receptors in the brain to change your perception of pain. It also works like an antidepressant, prolonging the actions of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.
One of the most abused cough syrups is Benylin; it is a range of cough, cold and flu medication. Unknown to many, common adverse effects associated with the use of codeine include drowsiness and constipation. Less common are euphoria, itching, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, miosis, orthostatic hypotension, urinary retention, depression, and paradoxically, coughing. Rare adverse effects include anaphylaxis, seizure, and respiratory depression. As with all opiates, longer-term effects can vary but can include diminished libido, apathy and memory loss. Prolong use of codeine could cause Acute Pancreatits. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to codeine, such as the swelling of skin and rashes. Codeine and morphine as well as opium were used for the control of diabetes until relatively recently and still are in rare cases in some countries, and the hypoglycemic effect of codeine, although usually weaker than that of morphine, diamorphine, or hydromorphone, can lead to cravings for sugar.
Before now, no one would ever consider an ordinary cough syrup like Benylin as one of those substances to be categorized as ‘hard drug’ that are being abused by youths, men and women.
According to medical experts, codeine has become a favourite for many drug abusers because it is very easy to obtain either over the counter or through prescription at big or small medicine stores. They also cite reasons for using codeine which include experiencing the euphoric effects associated with opiates, just as they averred that it is common practice for young people wishing to get high to drink an overdose of cough syrup straight.
The reality, however, is that the criminalization and high cost of the usual hard drugs listed above have in combination with other factors led to the discovery of other potent substances with similar stimulant and/or suppressant effects on the central nervous system by consumers of hard drugs especially teenagers.
The demand for these on the streets of Nigeria’s major cities particularly Abuja and Lagos has obviously beaten the standard set by cocaine addicts. The abuse of these substances got so alarming that the Federal Government placed a ban on the sales of Benylin with codeine off the counter except with a medical doctor’s prescription.
Some of these youths who take Reflon are so proud of it that they exhibit it on social media by displaying their tongue that would have taken the blue colour of the drug.
Although it is common knowledge that there have been instances of drug peddling by the low and mighty in the society, what is, however, new is the fact that sale of narcotics has finally entered the streets of Lagos and Abuja, with local shop owners, popularly known as ‘aboki’ taking over the market as the peddler of the proscribed drugs.
If you need to get one of these drugs, all you need to do is to approach any “Aboki” and ask for the drugs; some may be reluctant because the police have been on their heels, arresting some of them in the process. But if they are sure that one is not working for the law, you are bound to get the drugs.