Lawmakers in Nigeria have put a ban on codeine cough syrup. They claim the ban is the result of an internal review and not related to a BBC undercover investigation into opioid epidemic sweeping the country.
The BBC documentary “Sweet Sweet Codeine” shows medical staff selling large quantities of cough syrup to undercover BBC reporters.
The country’s Health Ministry banned the importation and production of the cough syrup which contain codeine, an addictive opioid.
However critics are pessimistic about the ban and believe it might have a negative effect in ending Nigeria’s pharmaceutical-addiction problem. They believe corruption and loopholes in the Nigerian public-health system need to be tackeld to kake any headway in this tragic instances.
While codeine-based cough syrup was legal in Nigeria, it was supposed to be handed out only to patients with valid prescriptions or to those with pharmaceutical licenses.
Critics also fear that an outright ban on the syrup will let the government step back from responsibility for widespread addiction and open the door to unregulated and potentially more dangerous replacements.
They also ague that a lot of people who have been using codeine syrup will maybe use a deadlier substance and begin to experience overdose. Some eventually migrate to harder drugs like crack cocaine.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime sounded the alarm on increasing number of Nigerian youth taking and getting addicted to pharmaceutical drugs, codeine among them, on a recreational basis.
Although legal in certain circumstances, consuming large amounts of codeine can cause psychosis and organ failure. The painkilling medicine has now turned into a recreational drug.