The government finally accepts that we have a big drug problem in Nigeria.
Well, our usual busy lawmakers sat down to talk about the drug problem in the country on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. Specifically, the spoke on the use of codeine syrup by Nigerian youths.
"I am particularly worried about the drug menace in the Northern part of the country. It is the time that we recognize this problem and address it in a sensible manner.
"I will be pushing for the National Assembly to review all relevant laws on drug abuse. This will help to curb the widespread misuse of illegal and unsanitary substances. The Senate will engage with all relevant stakeholders as we initiate this process" tweeted the Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Even Senator Remi Tinubu, the wife of APC leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu chipped in on the situation. "I have always advocated and I believe across Nigeria we should have drug rehabilitation centres so that children can quickly check themselves in," she said.
The Nigerian Senate is just coming to terms to what a lot of people know- drug abuse is on the rise. Pulse has written several articles on the drug problem in Nigeria.
'We are heading towards a disaster', and 'A new deadly form of marijuana is slowly wreaking havoc in Nigeria's cities' are two articles that touch on this problem.
In its sitting, the Nigerian Senate zeroed in on codeine syrup. According to the lawmakers, three million bottles of codeine are consumed daily in the Northern states of Kano and Jigawa. Though not verified, that's an alarming statistic.
The abuse of codeine started in Nigeria circa 2010, a time it was popular among American rappers. Lil' Wayne is notoriously linked to codeine. At his peak, it was hard to see Lil' Wayne without his Styrofoam cup, a visual indicator that he was sipping on that lean.
Lean is a combination of cough medicine (which contains codeine), soft drinks and flavoured hard candy. Lean is also known as sizzurp or drank in Hip-Hop.
Codeine is an opioid drug. The United States of America right now is going through an opioid crisis that is cutting life expectancy in the country.
In Nigeria, codeine is deep in youth culture and celebrity life also. In June 2017, actress Toyin Aimakhu confessed to taking drugs including codeine.
Apart from codeine, drugs like cocaine, Tramadol and Refnol are popular among drug addicts in the country.
Drug abuse has been left to eat deep into the fabric of youth culture in Nigeria especially in Northern Nigeria. With the recent happenings in Nigeria's music industry, more people are focused on this problem.
Hopefully, the Nigerian Senate does not end the story here. It shouldn't stop as a rhetoric. Like Senator Remi Tinubu said, Nigeria needs more rehab centres to deal with the drug addicts in the country.
Also, the narcotic arm of the Nigerian Police Force should be properly funded and equipped to deal with this huge problem. Anything short of these two things will lead to a disaster.
America dealt with this disaster in the 80s. The crack epidemic ravaged through urban America killing millions of youths. Millions of lives were lost because the government acted slow. Nigeria should do all that is possible to stop this bomb from exploding.