Codeine Ban Is Not The Answer  By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Banning codeine is not the answer. It is a knee jerk reaction to a tragic development. Truth be told, we have a poisoning epidemic on our hands. Here on my timeline and in my Tuesday column I have written extensively on the drug problem. The problem is, the government does not listen until global media beam their searchlight on a problem. That is very much in our character; if Oyinbo man is not involved, we don’t care.

I don’t know where to start. At the root of Naija drug problem is joblessness and sexual experimentation. I wrote here long ago, that I am increasingly seeing men under 30 who tell me they cannot sustain erection because of drug abuse. In this country, Tramadol use far outstrips codeine. Codeine was at its peak of use 6-8 years ago. Focusing on Codeine is so far behind the curve. Probably because a large swath of the North is dependent on it. Cough syrup is the favored drug of Northern housewives and that is not in the video you saw. It is worse than you think. I don’t have the raw data but I can place a bet that 80% of Okada riders and at least 40% of students are on Tramadol. There are Methamphetamine labs in this country. I haven’t been able to locate them because people are not willing to tell me the location. I hear there is one in some remote area of the Peninsula.

To tackle the drug problem will be hard because of corruption. Our culture of concealment and materialism will make it harder to finger sellers. That your friend or family who imports from China, is it importation that made him/her rich? All those trades are mostly fronts for gun running and drugs. How can you import doors and sell it at almost the price it goes for in China and be riding exotic cars and splurging on luxury goods? We worship money and respects money, however it is acquired. We don’t ask questions. We don’t report bad people, even when we do, they can buy their way out and no protection for informants.

Most of these drugs are imported. They pass through our land and sea borders. Internationally we are known as a hub in world narcotics trade. The problem is more than codeine. We have;
1. An Opioid crises
2. A Methamphetamine problem
3. Ecstasy use for prolonged sex
4. Rohypnol alias blue mouth
5. Plant extracts sold in motor parks
6. Herbal drinks marketed as aphrodisiacs
7. A flower I will not mention (for fear of More use but well known to NDLEA) whose potency is mind boggling.

The federal government needs to think deep and come up with a sustained program on dug abuse and control. We are assaulted by a legion of ills. This drug issue affects the wealthy, the poor, the prominent and the unknown. That’s the nature of an epidemic. Many families are hiding it because of shame.

We need a robust awareness about the potency of synthetic opioids and other drugs. Some of our leaders are drug users. With the drive for more profit for sellers and more high for high-end users of heroin and cocaine, my fear is we will have those substances laced with Fentanyl very soon. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than morphine. It kills on seconds. You will recall it killed Prince in that Minnesota elevator. If they start dying anyhow, you know why. We have a grave public health issue in hand.

Facebook page: Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

News Reporter

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