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Codeine Syrup Emzor suspends production of abused drug after illegal distribution scandal

Emzor's action to suspend the production of the drug is coming after one of its sales reps was caught on camera selling codeine illegally.

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A young Nigerian filmed consuming codeine


Emzor pharmaceutical company said it has suspended the production of the extremely addictive drug, codeine cough syrup, which is sending Nigerian youths to early graves and causing the recent hike of young people in rehabilitation centres and psychiatric homes across the country.

Codeine is an opiate, classified as a narcotic substance, which is largely used as a pain reliever and cough suppressant. Even though it is not an illegal drug, codeine, which comes in tablet and syrup form, has been largely abused for years by youths in the country.

Illegal codeine supply

Emzor's action to suspend the production of the drug is coming after one of its sales reps was caught on camera in a BBC Pidgin undercover report, boasting about how he supplies millions of the codeine syrup to individuals daily.


The company said the sales rep in question has been dismissed as his conduct are illegal and against Emzor's policy.

In a statement released by Emzor on Monday, April 30, 2018, the company said it has launched a full-scale internal investigation into the breach of the codeine distribution.

"The Sales Rep depicted in the BBC video was initially placed on suspension and has now been summarily dismissed following an investigation. Any representations made by the Sales Rep are in breach of company policy and ethics and were undertaken independently by him. The distribution of Emzolyn with Codeine has been suspended pending the results of a full and thorough internal investigation", the statement, which was published on the company's Facebook page, read in part.



The BBC report also showed how young Nigerians using the drug are admitted to various rehabilitation centres across the country on a weekly basis.

ALSO READ: How thousands of young Nigerians get their hands on drug

The investigation revealed that industrial quantities of codeine leak to the streets through the back doors of pharmaceutical companies.

In October 2017, a report presented to the National Assembly indicated that 3 million bottles of codeine are consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa, as the Nigerian youth have repurposed the medicine to become a straight drug used to get high.


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