Duale Decries Widespread Misuse of Drugs In Garissa County
The leader of majority and Garissa Township member of parliament Hon Adan Duale today decried the wide spread use of recreational drugs in the county and called on Chiefs, religious leaders and the security actors to do everything to curb the menace that he says is spreading wide and fast in the county. ”I hired a probox to pay a secret visit to what our youth are doing with drugs and you will be shocked” says the MP to a crowd who gathered for his meet the people tour. The MP claimed that the misuse of Codeine and other legal highs is spreading among the youth and lamented that chiefs are not doing enough. According to a resident we spoke to the claim is true but he adds the misuse of recreational drugs has been around and it is disingenuous of Hon Duale to blame the chiefs for the menace.” We commend the politician to speak publicly about this problem but the chiefs neither have the resources nor the capacity to handle this alone” says Mr Dagane. ”The chiefs must be given the support they need to be able to execute their duties diligently”. Mr Dagane continues.
Drug misuse such as the misuse of prescription-only Codeine has been growing in the counties of NEP. It has recently been reported by security officers that the youth are getting hooked on drugs such as this to get high in Mandera County. Codeine is an opiate used as a pain relief agent, for coughs and diarrhoe. Available only on prescription, its use is restricted by health authorities and an overdose or long term use is deemed dangerous. One of its serious side effects include respiratory depression where the level of carbon dioxide increases, a precursor to hypoxia and possible death.
While the use of illicit drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine is rare, it is reported many youth are already addicted to Codeine in the county. Codeine is classified as Schedule II in the classification of drugs. Schedule II drugs have a high risk of addiction and dependence and their use highly restricted. Doctors can give no more than a month’s worth of medication at a time. Due to its withdrawal dangers, abrupt withdrawal from its use can be fatal. Withdrawal symptoms include: drug craving, miosis (constriction of the pupil),runny nose, yawning, sweating, insomnia, weakness, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasms, chills, irritability, and pain. To minimize withdrawal symptoms, long-term users should gradually reduce their codeine medication under the supervision of a healthcare professional. NFD Dispatch’s investigation reveals that there could be a collusion between hospital workers, pharmacists and codeine users. Policy makers and activists would like to look at this angle in their effort to restrict the access to codeine. Authorities should work with the medical fraternity to curb the buying of Codeine over the counter and unnecessary over prescription by doctors, Clinical officers and nurses in public and private hospitals.
Politicians, professionals, county authorities, Chiefs, community leaders, religious leaders and national government must cooperate to help address this growing problem.