Nigeria is battling a growing drug problem among its youth.
Codeine is an opiate used for its pain relieving and more commonly antitussive effect (cough suppressant) in cough syrups.
Reports have shown that Nigeria may be building a nation of drug addicts which is not unconnected with reports in October brought before the Senate which showed that 3 million bottles of codeine are consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa States.
The Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) hosted a conference with the theme: "Emergency Response to Disease Outbreaks: The Way Forward in Nigeria" where many medical experts spoke on the growing drug problem in the country.
Dr. Oluyemisi Ogun who is the Medical Director of Psychiatric Hospital in Lagos affirmed that there had been a sharp increase in the number of patients with drug-related cases seen at the hospital.
At the conference, he also spoke saying, "We are talking about communicable diseases, but we have another epidemic on hand, which is the issue of drug abuse. We are seeing more and more of this and it is a menace. I would urge that attention be drawn to it urgently. It is actually more than an epidemic."
Mrs. Abayomi Bolaji, a Deputy Director of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration of Nigeria (NAFDAC) also spoke on Nigeria’s growing drug abuse problem.
"We have codeine which is currently being abused. I want to let you know that in the course of our regulatory activities if we find codeine in a Patent Medicine Store, the person will be heavily sanctioned," she said while talking about the NAFDAC’s attempt to curb the nations drug abuse.
In October 2017, the Senate brought up the growing problem of drug abuse, particularly in 19 states which are in Northern Nigeria.
The Senate had assigned its Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health to investigate the growing trend of codeine along with other drugs abuse and report their findings to the Senate on the needed legislative interventions to combat the trend.
Dr. Bukola Saraki who is the Senate President had said that the Senate will take necessary actions to reduce the growing problem.
It was reported that on December 18, 2017 members of the Senate are meeting in Kano for a two-day roundtable on drug abuse which will enable the Senate effectively analyze Nigeria's response to the problem and come up with appropriate strategies on the way forward.
The expected outcomes of the roundtable include gaining a better understanding of drug use and policy gaps to develop an Action Plan for intervention by the National Assembly.