Dr Iduze
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By Iduze Abdulahi Aminu

For those who have lived or still live in students populated area, they would understand what I’m about to write on!

… on my way out yesterday, I met a friend’s brother approaching from a mini drug store. When he saw me, he came hailing,

‘Egbon doctor, how far?’

‘Fine o.. how exams?…’ I responded. I knew he was writing exams.

‘… why you dull like this, you get malaria?’ I asked.

‘No o… na cough dey wire me.’

I noticed he was holding some small bottles so I inquired to see the drugs he bought. Alas, five bottles of Benylin with Codeine. I smiled and told him,

‘You think I be kid? You want to run mad, abi? When did you start abusing drugs too?

With some remorse, he replied,

‘Egbon! It isn’t what you think. I just wanna feel alright ni.’

I had to call him aside to explain stuffs into his calcified skull until he promised to stop the abuse. I followed him back to the drug store to return those drugs.

Now this is the actual message I want to drop…

Nowadays, one of the most abused drugs amongst undergraduates and youths in general is cough syrup: notably, combination of Benylin with Codeine syrup; combination of Novalyn with Codeine syrup( some call it SK)…
Then, while I was in school, I would see like 6 to 10 bottles of this syrups in guys’ room and every time, they covered up saying that they had this “cough that never goes”, sometimes they mixed them with soft drinks like La casera, coke, or even alcoholic drinks.

Most of these cough syrups act as narcotic analgesics with properties like, antitussive (antidote for cough); antihistamine ( which sedates and hinders a long axis of physiologic processes); and anticholinergic (prevents bronchial secretions thus stopping running nose).

Some contain Codeine and Diphenhydramine as active agents, which are medically prescribed to treat cough, red eyes and sometimes diarrhoea.


Now, Why Was I So Worried?

Abusive or overdose effects of these drugs range from drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, central nervous system excitation; notably hallucination and rarely convulsion.

The above are the side effects that are being craved for by our youths. Imagine, this guy told me,

‘Egbon! I use it to forget about the pains of my carryovers and moreover, it helps me sleep well.’

Hmm… ok. It’s understandable that the economic state of the country right now is enough to cause depression and frustration for the common man, but downing yourself with this mild sedatives is only but a fool’s bliss…


Addiction to these cough syrups is on the rise, they usually start with a bottle and before they knew it, even five bottles become less desirable to provide the effect they desire…

I wish somebody out there will tell them that chronic abuse of these drugs can lead to lack of coordination, dull responses, dependence, respiratory depression, liver failure, internal haemorrhage, kidney failure, among others.

I, for one, know that NAFDAC (the regulatory body for sales and use of foods and drugs in Nigeria) forbad the sales of these cough syrups without doctors’ prescriptions, so why is our drug stores and pharmacies still selling them to the commons?

The advent of these unregulated white shops that pose as chemists/drug stores at every angle in my street and other places is a big challenge…

Any Aunty Mary or Amina who knows the names of common drugs opens a chemist and automatically becomes a pharmacist, in this case, falling short of adequate knowledge of the impact of the pharmacology and sociology of drugs in our environment

I wish somebody out there will tell them that chronic abuse of these drugs can lead to lack of coordination, dull responses, dependence, respiratory depression, liver failure, internal haemorrhage, kidney failure, among others.


Well… Here Is My One Kobo Advice,

Are you a parent? Have you got siblings or boyfriend? Watch out for these drugs! You could actually be saving them from a life time of addiction.

Are you guilty of abusing these drugs? Are you addicted to these drugs?
Acceptance and the desire to stop is the first step, but, yet, that is not enough as you may encounter a great challenge with stopping. Because of the problems of withdrawal symptoms you might encounter, visit a clinic, explain to your doctor so he may figure out the best ways to wean you out of this destiny killer.

Read more on ways to stop tobacco addiction here

Drug stores and pharmacies should stop assisting our youths in their folly of highness. They should know better, Benylin with codeine are no longer OTC (Over The Counter) drugs, they are sold only with doctors’ prescription. They are addictive! They are killing our youths! Let it be known that you played your part.


Featured Image credit: Youtube

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