Codeine Is Like Paracetamol To Me, SS II Student Says
Johnson is in Senior Secondary School II and he is just 16 years.
He lives in Nigeria’s black gold region – the Niger Delta – and his home is in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.
It is a region in the southern part of Nigeria and his story tells the sad situation about how drug addiction is spreading across Nigeria.
From the north, to the south, sweet codeine is ravaging young Nigerians and its sweetness is dragging them on to the medicine stores without doctor’s prescription.
Like some other young fellows in Bayelsa, Johnson, does menial jobs after school and over the weekend to raise money to afford the cost of codeine.
His wheelbarrow is so dear to his heart, as it helps him raise 1,400 Naira to get a bottle of codeine that he mixes in a drink to avoid being seen with the bottle.
His motive of taking it may support his routine and he simply puts it this way.
"I have taken codeine and Tramadol mixed in mineral drink before, they are just like paracetamol.
"The only difference is that you will have enough strength to do anything without fear," he told Bounce News.
Not left out in the intake of this over-the-counter drugs are girls and three of them, who are Johnson’s classmates say they have taken Tramadol.
In Bayelsa State, a card of 200 milligram of Tramadol containing 10 tablets is sold for 600 Naira while 120 milligram card of is sold for 300 Naira.
They had added to their daily routine sales of groundnuts to raise the money needed for the purchase of this drug.
They are all students of Central Epie Secondary School, Opolo-Epie, Yenagoa, and they said they had no troubles buying these drugs.
An awareness campaign launched by the Drug Awareness Caution Network (DACN) in Bayelsa State gave birth to these revelations.
With the theme, "Let's Develop Our Lives, Our Communities, Our Identities Without Drugs”, the head of the group, Mrs Perembowei Samuel, listed some of the reasons people abuse drugs as peer pressure, poor academic performance, money and power.
It is one thing to take these prescription drugs and it is another to face the side effects which she listed as crime, cancer, brain and liver damage.
Mrs Samuel told Bounce News that the theme of the campaign was picked because of the unusual demand for Tramadol and codeine by teenagers in the state.
The situation according to Mr. Erapamo, a taxi driver, demands that money-chasing parents should monitor their children closely in order to safe-guard their future.
Medical experts have said drugs are sensitive chemical substances that must not be toyed with as any medicine in wrong hands is a potential poison.
After the administration of these drugs, they have the tendency of taking control of the brain and spinal cord while dismantling the effective functioning of the brain and in the process, researches have shown.
The head of the campaign group also highlighted that these drugs and marijuana endanger the lives of users and that of others.
It could also influence the individual to commit crime, she added.
The Drug Caution Network is funded by Mrs Samuel and her husband and targeted at discouraging young indigenes of Bayelsa State from the use of hard drugs.
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