The opium derivative is becoming a huge problem on the continent
By Nsikan Ikpe
Like Nigeria, which recently banned the indiscriminate use of codeine, the South African nation of Botswana is presently battling a crisis of misuse of, and addiction to the drug, The Difference has learnt.
Originally formulated as a cough syrup and analgesic, the opium derivative is however becoming a huge problem on the continent, with many users, particularly young people, now routinely abusing it and deploying it as a self-diagnosed ego booster and psychological stimulant.
Already, the authorities of the Southern African nation, which has one of the most stable economic and political cultures in the content have begun to express their worry over the reported increase in the rate of use and the accompanying incidence of addiction to codeine-based cough syrups.
In a press statement, the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BOMRA), urged members of the public to always seek expert advice before taking cough syrups.
“The authority would like to send a caution to parents and families about the growing misuse and addiction to these easily accessible codeine containing cough syrups.
“It is alleged that addicts mix codeine with fizzy drinks such as sprite and mountain dew in order to create a concoction popularly known among Adolescent and Young Adults as Purple drank or Lean,” the statement explored.
Nigeria had in February placed a total ban on the importation of codeine for useas an active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations as part of measures to curb a growing addiction crisis that had been variously exposed in the media.
Sudan, Ghana, Gabon, Egypt and Namibia are some other African nations where the incidence of drug abuse is said to be growing.