'Science Students' Codeine: A Burden On Families, Schools, Worship Centres
Sweet Codeine is on the loose and a knee-jerk approach had greeted recent BBC’s video that opened up the can of worm that this cough syrup that is now a darling to young Nigerians without any cough symptom had empty on young Nigerians.
Like a maggot it eating deep and putting some in chains.
A knee-jerk approach is how a medical doctor who rehabilitates drug addicts, Dr. Dokun Adedeji, described the decision of the government to ban importation of codeine into Nigeria.
"It was a wrong move. This thing cannot be handled in a knee-jerk response.
"If you ban codeine, are you going to ban Tramadol, Rohypnol, toilet sewer gas, gutter water, Gegemu (a plant)?," the coordinator of Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry, (CADAM) asked.
He insisted that the government acted to show that it was doing something about the situation without giving proper though to video published.
"If we are not careful it will give us an illusion of doing things and we will sleep again.
"What I think that they have done with the codeine is that they are going to make it expensive, push it underground, push users underground and you will not be able to know.
"This will make the situation fester.
“We do not have enough regulations to check the drug situation.
“Where is advocacy in the matter, where is understanding in the matter, where is the inter-relationship of agencies to work together?" the CADAM boss also questioned.
He suggested that the government should have taken its time to look at the issue and draw up a plan that would get the family, media, places of worship and schools involved in the struggle to check the abuse of drugs.
The doctor further stressed the need for the government to decriminalise drug addiction and give people the opportunity to come out and seek help.
A policy analyst, Dr. Boniface Chizea, agreed with Dr. Adedeji on the involvement of the family, schools and places of worship in the war against drug abuse in Nigeria.
He says the family plays a major role in the control of drug abuse.
"A family where parents are divorced, the character of the children is affected.
"They go out and copy anything and when there are no parents to check what they are picking up, it could end up to be bad.
"If parents will take time to monitor their children, there will be sanity in the system.
"Teachers should begin to check the student's bags to make sure they do not have bottles of drugs. They are closer to the students and they should observe them to know if they are exhibiting strange behaviours," Dr Chizea stated.
He opined that the situation may have been compounded in the north because of the cultural and religious belief about alcohol.
On the decision to ban the drug, Dr. Chizea believes the government had seen the extent of the damage the drug had done.
Also Read: Sweet Codeine War Goes To Nigeria’s Border
"They have seen that it is readily available. It is something you can pick over the counter."
He also said the banning of codeine and other drugs with such tendencies was an in-road into addressing the tide.
Now that codeine has been banned, smuggling of the drug may set in, but Dr. Chizea and Dr. Adedeji both agreed on the need for agencies in charge of monitoring and enforcement to ensure that laws meant to check abuse of drugs are strictly enforced.