Codeine: Cough Syrup Killing a Generation in Northern Nigeria

 BBC African Eye on Monday, April 30, 2018; exposed how Nigerian youth take Codeine cough syrups,

not for a cough, rather for other illegal uses.

What is codeine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Codeine is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone.

A small amount of codeine is converted to morphine in the body.

The precise mechanism of action of codeine is not known;

Like morphine, codeine binds to receptors in the brain (opioid receptors).

The opioid receptors are very important for transmitting the sensation of pain throughout the body and the brain.

Codeine increases tolerance to pain, decreasing discomfort, but the pain is obvious to the patient.

In trying to reduce pain, codeine causes sedation drowsiness and depresses breathing.

Codeine frequently is combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin for more effective pain relief.

It’s legal in certain circumstances, consuming large amounts of it causes psychosis and organ failure.

Serious side effects of codeine include:

  • Life-threatening respiratory depression
  • Severe low blood pressure
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Accidental ingestion of codeine can result in fatal overdose
  • psychosis and organ failure

The undercover investigative report also exposed the complicity of drug distributors in the problem.

The videos which were greeted with mixed reactions witnessed;

a ban on the production and importation of codeine syrups in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, thousands of young people are addicted to codeine cough syrup – a medicine that has become a street drug.

The question is who makes this syrup? And who sells it to Nigeria’s students?

The BBC has gone undercover to investigate.

This is the first report from BBC Africa’s new investigations unit, Africa Eye.

Today in Nigeria, there is hardly any family without an addict of some sort.

This is the most destructive phenomenon today in Nigeria after the killings by Boko Haram and bandits.

At the moment, we have millions of this codeine syrup on counters of chemists.

We should support our security agencies to clear those that are already on the counters.

70% of the codeine imported into Nigeria finds its way into Sambisa Forest.

What that tells us; we have Boko Haram elements who are using this as well as other addicts using this.

It is possible that some of our security agents are under the influence of drugs.

There is the need for us to do everything possible to support the authorities to minimize this scourge killing Nigerians.

Be adviced stay away from Codeine!


BBC African Eye


Please share to create more awareness to the menace of Codeine Cough Syrup.

2 thoughts on “Codeine: Cough Syrup Killing a Generation in Northern Nigeria”

    1. Yes I understand, we just have the responsibility to create more awareness for those who are not aware of the dangers of codeine…

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