Codeine: The Nigerian Youths’ Right-hand Possess

We have been hearing it. It is on social media and daily newspapers and you have been asking yourself, what exactly is it? You might have been taking this, so, why the too much talk about this? They have been an increased in reports of harms associated with this particular thing. What is this thing?…… CODEINE!!!

People have been having problem with this and is caused by the side effects of additional substance (alcohol) which has led to death.

Codeine - sustainable development goals

Regular use of drug containing codeine, e.g. for chronic pain, has led to some person becoming addicted to codeine without realizing it. It contains medicine used to treat moderate pain and also helps to relieve cough. It is commonly found in drugs like cough syrup, cold and flu relieve. An estimated 33 million people use codeine every year.

Codeine - sustainable development goals
Health minister Isaac Adewole addressing members of the committee (Codeine Control and Other Related Matters Working Group, CCRWG)

Nigerian government placed restrictions on the use and importation of codeine. And why? We were told, is to curtail wide spread abuse of codeine. With the widen burden of the drug’s adverse side effects, there’s no doubt that this medicine is associated with some serious public health implications.



  • What makes this medicines (i.e. codeine) addictive?


Codeine iSubsidenc s one of the opiate ( drug derived from opium) group of drugs. These drugs have psychotropic effects (i.e. they act directly on the brain). It’s main beneficial effects is treatment of pain (usually mild to moderate pain or moderate to mildly severe pain). That is, is not just a common pain. In some combination, it is mixed with regular pain killers, e.g. the common paracetamol, to have more beneficial effect.


The problem now is, because it acts centrally (the psychotropic nature of it). It relieves faster and gives some lovely feeling (i.e. the mind altering feelings). And then, after about few hours after use, one might intend to use it again. That is where the abuse comes in, if one is not properly advised and disciplined not to indulge in the abuse (abnormal use).

It is a drug, beneficial but if it is not used properly, one might gets addicted and the adverse effects comes in. The issues that are needed to be addressed are: does the Nigerian youths exceed the prescribed use? Was the drug prescribed? Are people not just going over the counter and take it at will? And not just looking at it from the social angle of codeine. There are so many drugs that are being abused in our society by our youths.

Thousands of young people are addicted to codeine cough syrup


The abuse had been with us for years and the abuse is with us regardless of the ban. When someone is addicted to something the person would still looks for it regardless of the ban, so why can’t we go after the addiction and rehabilitation? What about the enforcement of getting the drug through prescriptions? The solution is beyond banning codeine!!!

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At the local government level, primary care and the pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria has been working tremendously with the local government officials to create awareness.

Also, you can participate by creating awareness in your domain.

Credit: Dr Olalekan Oke (Public Health Consultant at Ogun State) and produced by Yewande Iwoha @ Raypower Radio Network 100.5 FM Registered & Protected

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1 Comment

  1. I certainly do hope that any drug related issues in any country will be solved so that people especially kids will be have a good future.

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