10 things to know about widespread abuse of codeine in Nigeria. #7 will shock you

1. Codeine is a pain killer but also an addictive opioid. Taken in excess, it can cause Schizophrenia and organ failure among other health related defects.
2. The massive patronage of the illicit codeine trade largely rests on the shoulders of teenagers, young adults insatiably looking for a quick high – the current growing trends in Nigeria. Surprisingly, young women take it more, including pregnant women.
3. Though codeine is mostly imported, the syrup is made in Nigeria by more than 20 pharmaceutical companies.
4. The price of a bottle of the syrup which used to be between N150-N200 has escalated to between N1,000 and N1,200 per  bottle, depending on the syrup mixed with the codeine. Serious addicts can consume as much as four bottles per day.
5. Even though it is illegal to sell codeine cough syrups without a doctor’s prescription, the drug remains common. It addicts mix it with soft drinks like coke and this can be taken anywhere under the guise that the consumer is just taking a soft drink- it is not as soft as it seems.
6. The abuse of substance like codeine is more acute in the northern part of the country. A restriction on alcohol in the region has made youth in dire need of “highness” to turn to codeine, tramadol, rohypnol and other cheap opioid-based drugs.
7. Over three million bottles of codeine syrup are consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa States alone, according to the Nigerian Senate.
8. NDLEA is fighting this epidemic. In a recent raid, it seized 24,000 bottle of codeine syrup from a single lorry in Katsina.
9. The widespread abuse of codeine is also highly influenced by Nigerian musicians, who use their lyrics to promote the intake of such drugs as the ‘new cool’.
10. When taken, codeine addicts feel dizzy, slow, numb and even hallucinate.



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