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Author • OCHE MARIA FAUSTINA - Bakhita

Cough syrup is one of the major reasons a lot of people, especially young people, end up either on the streets or in mental homes, and some in the grave. What is in cough syrup that has made and still continues to ravage our society? Why have some people become so addicted to cough syrup even when they do not have cough and it is not prescribed by a doctor? Cough syrup is one of the best selling drugs in the country especially in the black market. 

It is produced by all pharmaceutical companies; from Emzor to Peace Standard Pharmaceuticals to Bioraj and all other drug producing companies. It is not wrong or illegal to produce cough syrup but this tasty and most times sweet liquid that is meant to serve as a drug to heal has brought a lot of people down and left them in mental asylums.

cough syrup, readersketch oche maria faustina visuals on tasty syrup

What is in cough syrup?

The syrup contains something known as CODEINE. Codeine is a drug and is not bad on its own but it has been abused and continues to be abused on a large scale. Codeine is in most syrup if not all of them and it gives the syrup a sweet taste. Apart from being sweet, it can become very addictive. The syrup itself is not illegal as stated earlier, but taking it without a doctors prescription is simply drug abuse and selling it to pharmacies without proper license or documentation is wrong and punishable by the law.

How did syrup turn out to become so abused and how does it get to the hands of the youths even without a prescription? 

Some of the chemists and pharmacies that sell drugs to us are dealing highly in the illegal buying and distribution of syrup especially in the black market. Some of these outlets use the shops or outlets as cover up for their drug businesses; some of them are the major dealers and barons of syrup. It is not that they do not know the side effects of what they are selling but they continue to because it is lucrative and one of the fastest rising businesses.

syrup abuse, tasty syrup by oche maria faustina images on readersketch

How is syrup abused? 

When it is purchased, some would prefer to drink straight from the bottle while some will mix it in drinks like coke, fanta, sprite and whatever drink is available to them at that point. Some accompany the syrup with cigarate or weed. Constant and frequent intake of the syrup is how they become addicted to it and dependency on it grows gradually. And from dependency and addiction, problem sets in. It does not just make them go mad but it also gradually destroys their body systems.

Syrup Abuse by BBC documentary in Nigeria, Oche maria describes syrup abuse on Readersketch

Do these people really know what they are taking or its side effects? 

Some know, but a large majority of them do not. According to a BBC documentary done in 2018 titled “Sweet Sweet Codeine: Nigeria’s Cough Syrup Crisis”, the use of syrup has destroyed lots of lives and the country seems to be losing the battle against it.

People all over the world are addicted to cough syrup with codeine; it is in our country, Nigeria, and the rate is really high. There are drugs all over the world that are constantly abused. South Africa has a rising case of Nyaope and this drug is also deadly if not deadlier than syrup with codeine.

The fight against drug abuse is a universal one and will not be effective until we all come together and work collectively. It will continue to be in vain until black market and drug barons are wiped out and prosecuted. It will make sense when our youths stop modelling their lives after celebrities who promote drugs in their music contents or movies.

If the government and the society at large are truly concerned about the elimination or reduction of drugs, then the fight must begin from inside. Who are those distributing or selling these drugs to dealers and abusers? If the chain of supply can be broken or stopped then it is a huge win for us. If the abusers do not see the drug to purchase then they turn to something else and if what they turn to is also not available then they can gradually begin to limit and totally stop. The people put in charge in certain companies and government parastatals are sometimes responsible for the widespread of some of these dangerous drugs due to their greed and crave for money.

Drug addiction image, syrup addiction, tasty syrup, drugs abuse, open drug bottle

Our society is in constant fight against so many drugs; Syrup with codeine, Nyaope, cocaine, weed etcetera and whether we win or lose is a decision that is left to every individual to make.  You either kick against drugs abuse or you are for it. There is really no two ways about it. The government cannot really do very much for us and so, we must start from ourselves. Drugs no matter how sweet, high or cool it makes you feel will always have side effects. Drug abuse in whatever quantity is dangerous and must be stopped.




© 2022 OCHE MARIA FAUSTINA. All Rights Reserved.


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  1. This is really insightful. Great piece!

  2. Totally love this article, very informative, I had no idea about this problem and how to fix it, thank you for this important information. Society continues to get better, and it's because of knowledge and education. Keep the articles coming, you're making the world a better place! -Ben Arnold :-D


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