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Codeine Syrup: A Syrup Wiping Out A Generation Of Youths

Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity”- Saint Augustine. Samuel Johnson said: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

There is an epidemic that is sweeping across the world, with the victims being the youth. Codeine syrup is gradually turning the youth to endangered species.Cough syrup with codeine is a preferred substance of abuse for youths because of its wide availability. It is quite sympathetic to know that the culprits of this endemic drug is not just the youth, but also the parent, government, law enforcement agencies, and pharmaceutical companies, who are creating a conducive atmosphere for this juvenile drug to thrive through their act of negligence.

The abuse of cough syrup that contains codeine (also known as promethazine hydrochloride) is spreading among youths today. It is very common nowadays to see the youth partying with Styrofoam cups containing mixed concoctions of strawberry-flavoured cream soda and promethazine codeine cough syrup mixed with ice cubes. This has become a major cocktail whenever youths are socialising, just to get high.

Another version of it is to consume a concoction of cough syrup with codeine and carbonated drinks or herbal alcoholic beverages.Youths are very curious, energetic, adventurous and extremely inquisitive. These four youthful qualities can be so counterproductive and destructive when not well guarded by parents, guardians, teachers, counsellors and mentors. An unguarded youth is a danger waiting to happen, as youths spend their time socialising and experimenting many things until they go off the tangent and boundary of sanity.

A source at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Yaba, Lagos, said there has been an increase in the demand for the facility’s services now more than before, particularly by youths.Many youths all over the world have become addicted to cough syrup with codeine, a pandemic that is seriously ravaging northern Nigeria. Unless there is an urgent intervention, experts have warned that Nigeria might be building a nation of drug addicts.

The Nigerian Senate recently raised the alarm that over three million bottles of codeine syrup were consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa states in northern Nigeria, adding that 19 northern states of the country were under serious threat of drug abuse.Even the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration of Nigeria (NAFDAC) has expressed worry over uncontrolled use of codeine containing cough syrups across the country.

Codeine containing cough syrups are effective as prescription pain reliever and cough suppressant of certain coughs. However, it has a high potential for abuse and may present some serious adverse reactions to the user. For these reasons, access to codeine containing cough syrups has been restricted in several countries.According to NAFDAC, Codeine is an opiate used for its analgesic (pain reliever) and more commonly antitussive effect (cough suppressant) in cough syrups. It is one of the many pharmaceuticals classified as an opiate, which is a narcotic with a high potential for addiction.

When used as prescribed, this pain reliever and cough suppressant is a relatively mild opiate. However, it is still a dangerous drug that is increasing in usage and popularity, both with celebrities, teenagers and young adults.The rampant abuse of codeine among pupils in the secondary school is gradually hitting the ceiling, as many of them put the mixture in their water bottles to give the impression that they are drinking water.

When they put the mixture of codeine and soft drink in water bottles, no one would suspect that they are taking drugs and it has become an elusive tactics among secondary school students.According to some youths I have helped over the years in overcoming this addiction, they all believe that it puts them in perpetual state of ecstasy and euphoria, a feeling they became accustomed to and frequently yearned for.

The most damaging part of codeine addiction, just like any other addiction, is that the victim always needs a higher dose to maintain and sustain its ‘euphoriant’ effects. Most victims normally start with a bottle of the cough syrup each day and gradually increased the amount ingested to three or four bottles daily. This progressive death trap of maintaining an addiction with a higher dose is the real tragedy of getting ‘high.’

Excessive amounts of codeine can have a negative impact on the user’s central nervous system and reduce the activity of the lungs and the heart. Other undesirable effects are depression, high blood pressure, seizures, impaired judgment, panic attacks, respiratory depression, hallucination, chronic headache, constipation, dizziness, papillary constriction, drowsiness or ev

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