Curbing codeine and drug abuse in Nigeria

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The abuse of Codeine syrup and other illicit drugs among youths in Nigeria have become a cankerworm that have permeated all strata of our communities.

The abuse has become so widely spread that school students, youths and adults have resorted to recklessly abusing various harmful substances, particularly in the northern parts of the country. Stakeholders have expressed concern about the growing danger posed by these drugs.

This is where government, parents, religious and social organisations must work closely to help rescue those already addicted and educate our youths on the dangers of substance abuse to themselves and the menace they bring on the society.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC and other relevant authorities must do more and deploy proactive measures to control these substances and begin an elaborate sensitization campaign to enlighten the public on the dangers of drug abuse.

We must work closely to find out why people abuse drugs and substances in order to prescribe the correct panacea to the problem.

A research finding had disclosed that frustration, joblessness and shortcomings occasioning depression and hopelessness, contribute significantly to drug abuse.

For starters, we urge government to wake up to its basic responsibilities to the citizens.

The evolution of hard substances began in the 40s when Second World War veterans brought cannabis seed (hemp) from India to Nigeria.

Drugs like cocaine, heroine and other pharmaceutical opioids later followed in quick succession.

However, the situation changed in the 90s with the introduction of assorted non-conventional drugs like volatile inhalants, and lately the abuse of codeine Syrup, tramadol and other dangerous non-prescription drugs, which today have grossly overwhelmed the society.

The NDLEA, NAFDAC and all law enforcement agencies must work closely to set up monitoring units and tools to track makers, sellers and users of these drugs, and punish offenders squarely. Tighter and stricter controls have to be enforced for both prescription and over the counter medicines.

Nigeria’s response to this problem must be bold and decisive so that this epidemic can be effectively curbed.

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