Abuja is becoming a busy territory for codeine users

Drug use is moving on a fast pace in major cities across Nigeria. In Abuja, you will find codeine bottles littered on the street.

This made him question if the government and its anti-narcotics agency are excelling in their battle to eliminate substance abuse in Nigeria. The commenter who walked a huge distance confirmed that he counted 100 used containers of codeine while taking a stroll.

Musty's tweet bears a similar reflection to a post shared on Twitter by social media expert, Kolo Kadiri, who lamented in a tweet about the rate of drug use in Nigeria while giving details relating to a drug raid that saw the Nigerian authorities seize billion worth of Tramadol at the Apapa port in Lagos.

He expressed concern about how the menace could adversely affect the youths who are the chief patrons of drugs in Nigeria.

Why is this a problem?

It would be careless to attribute this to any one factor but among all things, it is clear that access to these drugs is responsible for covering Abuja in a pile of codeine bottles.

Codeine is not one of the drugs listed by the NDLEA as illegal (that distinction is reserved for marijuana, heroine, cocaine and the likes).

But while the threat that it poses is clearly recognised, it is all too easy for anyone with a few thousand Naira to get as much codeine as he needs.

Pharmacists sell the drugs, sometimes in bulk. Whether they are not willing to, there are roadside drug vendors who hide the drug expertly in their bags, along with other substances like Tramadol and roofies.

Much of this also goes down to the price. Since the demand for codeine increased, cheaper locally sourced alternatives have shown up in drug stores.

From the packaging to the level of care shown in putting them together, it is easy to see what market they are targeted at.

The euphoria of a codeine high may seem a lazy escape for the youth who take it. But we must not ignore the fact that many of these youths have found it a way to deal with other more pressing matters that are largely ignored by society.

Why Abuja?

Abuja is the capital of Nigeria. The city is filled with children of the rich, influential and wealthy. Most of the drugs sold in Abuja are bought by the children of Nigeria's ruling elite.  You could say they are over indulging in life thanks to the largess of their parents.

Abuja is not unique in the drug problem. "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 on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

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.

Solution

If the drug problem will be solved, every party involved must take responsibility from parents, teachers, pastors and the government.

Young people in Nigeria have been neglected too long. It is time for the powers that be to pay close attention and do something.

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