First Word on SB

First Word on SB

Telling stories that matter to Nigerians


FW: Codeine in Nigeria, explained

Aisha-Nana Salaudeen

Aisha-Nana Salaudeen

Aisha is trying to figure out how to tell as many impact stories as possible in different forms.

This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.


An undercover investigation conducted by BBC Africa Eye, has revealed how much of an epidemic cough syrup, especially the ones with codeine, is among young Nigerians. The documentary, which is almost an hour long, disclosed that over 3 million bottles of codeine are consumed every single day in Kano and Jigawa alone by addicted youths with the aim of getting high. It also exposes the leakages in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry aiding the spread of codeine intake.


What is Codeine?

Codeine is classified as narcotics with high potential for addiction. The substance is proved to have similar pharmacological effects as cocaine and heroin, though to a lesser degree. 

When used appropriately, it can act as a mild sedative, pain reliever and cough suppressant. However, the use of codeine in Nigeria, particularly in the North, has become dangerous and subject to abuse. Young people have now turned to the drug get high.

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