Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Young Nigerians turning to drugs

A growing number of young Nigerians are addicted to drugs, officials and police say, turning to cheap narcotics like codeine, tramadol, and other chemical substances in search of a high.

The government this month have banned the production of codeine-based cough syrup and, in the wake of a recent BBC investigation, temporarily shuttered three pharmaceutical firms for allegedly failing to cooperate with federal inspectors. 

Now, drug-reform policy advocates, such as RISE Nigeria's Adeolu Ogunrombi, fear the problem will worsen and are pushing authorities to be more proactive about tackling corruption and closing loopholes they say still exist in the public health system. 

"There is still a huge demand, and a criminal market is going to spring up to meet the needs of the users who are in need of the substances", he said. "We don't even consider that someone who is dependent on drugs is still a human being." 

In this episode, The Stream explores the depth of Nigeria's opioid problem to learn how the government is working to prevent abuse and the distribution of drugs on the black market, and what needs to be done next.

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