by Femi Kusa
Nigeria’s ban on cough mixtures, which contain Codeine and a similar axe which fell on Tramadol may open wide the door to a multi-billion naira business for traditional and alternative medicine recipes for cough, pain and depression.
But, making an in-road into this market, may not be easy as the pharmaceutical industry is not allowing the exit of Codeine cough syrups and Tramadol to cause a vaccum in its multi-billion moderate pain drug industry.
Already, the Federal Health Ministry has instructed that, in these cough syrups, which are being recalled, Codeine be replaced with Dextromethrophan, which is not without its side effects. The moderate side effects include vomiting, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, restlessness, constipation, diarrhea and nervousness.
The ban on Codeine and Tamadol has opened the eyes of the public to the fact that many pharmaceutical drugs are poisonous and may increase their longing for safer medicine. To the extent that the Alternative Medicine Industry can pull itself up by its shoe strings will the public get to know about its options to Codeine and Tramadol, trust them, if they are safer and active, and induct them into this huge market.
As tablets and in other forms, Codeine has been sold in Nigeria before the county’s independence in 1960.
As a primary school pupil in the 1950s, I was not too young to notice that, when adults were sick and were in pain, they took a combination of Codeine and APC for relief. I believe APC was made by a company called ALPACS. APC was to fade out of the market, but Codeine soldiered or lingered on, coming to full bloom with its use by young people to ”high up”.
Codeine in cough syrup is sold over the counter with or without a doctor’s prescription. At parties or some other joints of young people, they mix whole bottles of Codeine with Tramadol and other Opioids in various actions to produce various knock-out drinks.
Hip-hop musician OLAMIDE, who is followed by millions of young people in Nigeria on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITER captures this scenario in a popular hit which he titled (OMO SCIENCE STUDENT. His allegory is that, like true science in the laboratories, there fellows are experts at ”mixing chemicals” (awon omo science students, won ti po chemicals po o o).
Many people have blamed Olamide for encouraging this culture by acknowledging it. Many people have held him blameless saying he was only reflecting, like a memory, transient history through music, a medium of social communication.
My opinion is that anyone, who has seen the damaging effects of these ”chemicals” on their users, especially the parents of affected young people, would not tolerate that music in his or her home. This is not a case of being old-fashioned. Anyone who wishes to fulfil nothing, but THE WILL OF GOD in his or her existence will think the way I do.
Some side effects
Codeine may impair breathing, induce shortness of breadth, cause extreme drowsiness, light headedness, especially when changing positions, or feeling of fainting.
Codeine is one of the opioid durgs. These drugs may be illegal, like heroine, or legal like Codeine, Morphine, or Tamadol.
Doctors prescribe them for pain, which cannot be contained by less active drugs. These pains may include those of severe arthritis, renal problems, heart failure or angina pectoris or even in cases of the pain of terminal cancers.
One major problem with Codeine prescription in Nigeria is the failure of the doctor or the pharmacist to assess the patient or on-the-counter (OTC) customer before the prescription or dispensation. This is important, according to the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) because some people metabolise (digest, absorb and use) the opioid faster and more efficiently than other people. In such people Codeine may accumulate rapidly or even over-accumulate in the brain and nerves. Lactating or breastfeeding women in this category of people, who take Codeine products risk not only serious side effects, but may also get their breast-feeding babies harmed. Such babies may suffer from sleepiness, breathing problems, limpness and breast feeding challenges, among other health questions. Often, we hear stories of some child minders crèches or Baby Care Centers, who add cough mixtures to the feed of babies in their care, to make these babies sleep off so they can have some peace.
Unlike Codeine, which produces morphine as an end product in the body, Tramadol produces another class of chemical.
This is called O-desmethyltramadol. This chemical is psyco-active and, like similar chemical substances, alters brain chemistry. As a first step, it increases the levels of SEROTONIN and NOREPINEPHINE. Serotonin is the brain chemical, which keeps us awake for day-conscious activities. As soon as the brain picks the impression of nightfall through the eyes and other indicators, it stimulates the production of MELATON, another brain chemical, which shuts down the human body system for sleep to arise. Thus, people who have light levels of Serotonin than they should have at nightfall are unlikely to sleep. So, insomnia may be one of the side effects of Tramadol addiction. As for Epinephrine, its levels are lowest at night and highest during the day. In high blood levels, norepinephrine helps the body adapt to stress, especially in fight or flight scenarios. These are situations of danger, such as when confronted by a lion in the forest or an armed robber in the city. If the challenged person must engage the stress or agent or engage it, norepinephrine prepares all relevant parts of the body for this task. We all need this stress homone, like the shock absorbers of a motor vehicle, to ride over the bumpy life experiences we go through without breaking down or breaking up. But when we habour very high levels of this hormone for a prolonged period of time, it has damaging effects on the body it is meant to kit up for ”fight or flight”. Many people, who have high brain and blood levels of norepinephrine, like people who have high blood levels of serotonin, are unlikely to sleep well because their bodies are overcharged for low metabolic activities that the night calls for. The trouble with Tramadol is that the more it charges the body, the more the body tolerates it, and the more the body needs more Tramadol to produce the effects the user craves for. This means it is addictive. And that is why many users go well above dosages that their doctors once prescribed. Tramadol may be a nice pain killer, but it increases the feeding of and quest for euphoria. This is especially so because it reduces the feeling of anxiety, leading the user into a trip or voyage to illusion.
The side effects of Tramadol use and addiction are many. Abroad the train are dizziness, difficulty falling asleep as already explained, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, sweating, dry mouth, tremulous nerves and muscles, nausea, fever hives, rash or blisters, breathing or/and swallowing difficulties, hallucinations, agitation, incordination, tarchicardia or rapid heart beat.
I would like to say something about hallucination in particular. One of the readers of this column told me a few years ago that her daughter, who was depressed, often suffered from hallucinations. She would flee her bedroom in the dead of the night for her mother’s, saying there were many snakes on her bed. Her mother would go into the younger woman’s bedroom and find nothing there.
There was the case, also, of an old ‘acquaintance of mine whose wife helped to nurse out of depression, against accusations by the siblings that she led him into the woods. We all worked on his brain through those herbs and food supplements and foods which help to balance brain chemistry and stabilise the mind. One of the remedies, BACH FLOWERS, is not well known in Nigeria. I do not know much about them myself. We obtained them from Mr. Ade Martins who has a great understanding of them. This gentleman in reference had problems keeping jobs because of hallucinations.
One day, midway through his therapy, he cut his trip to the office short at the bus stop and returned home, claiming that he saw and overheard some people at the bus stop plotting to kill him if he got to the office.
Many care givers of hallucinating patients try to write off their statements as non-sense whereas they may be loaded with a lot of sense. We will appreciate this state of mind if we have a little more understanding of the world in which we live.
Our world is world of energy in which energy holds everything together in one whole family. Everything we are able to see, we can see because the energy capacity of our eyes is limited to the bandwidth of energy in which they exist.
Thus, we see our fellow human beings’ houses, cars, trees and so on. We cannot see germs except through the aid of microscopes. We can not see the air we breathe. We cannot see sound or noise except in the form of colours. We cannot see heat. We cannot see the television pictures which enter our dwelling houses from the television station until they become decoded from the air for us by our television receiving sets.
So, that means the unaided eye has a limited perceptive capacity. But under the influence of pycho-active chemicals, the body’s constitution may be so transformed that it becomes sensitive to another realm of reality, and through the sensitive organs of that other realm. We encounter certain experiences which we remember and assume our physical senses actually captured. When I say we, I refer to not our bodies but to us, the inhabitants of those bodies, spirits. Everyone of us is a human spirit, developed from spirit grains or seed germs sown into the world of matter to sprout, germinate, flower and fruit. The human body of dust picked up here on earth from mother’s womb is the most delimited in perceptive capacity of all the bodies we were enveloped in, one after the other, in the descent from the Spirit world, paradise, to this earth. Thus, once in a while, through natural gifts or needful or induced experiences, we perceive momentarily or otherwise through the sensory organs of those other bodies, which we must discard, one after the other, on the way back home to paradise, wherever we picked them up from, beginning with the discarding of the earth body in what we call physical death of that body.
Our thoughts produce thought forms, which hang about us and are attached to us. So do the thoughts of other people, which are homogeneous with our basic inner nature. Only gifted or clairvoyant people see these thoughts forms. Our thoughts of fear attract grotesque thought forms to us. That is why people, who think of, or talk about armed robbery often experience them. If we doubt that things our eyes do not ordinarily see do not exist, those of us who are Christians only need to remember that, on Holy Night, the three Wise Men saw an Angelic host, who accompanied Jesus to this earth that, at the Transfiguration of Jesus, the Disciples who were with Him saw with Him Elijah and Moses, that, Baalam behold Nature beings who were preparing the land for an eruption, against which his horse refused to ride.
‘An understanding and helpful caregiver will not take hallucination as something to laugh or joke about. Good or helpful caregiving requires knowing where the patient is coming from, such as whether the brain, in part or wholly, has been possessed by a disembodied soul wishing to manifest on earth, because the blood radiation of the prey is weak. Such a caregiver will help with the recomposition of the blood in such ways as boost its radiation or make the blood more energetic and unusable by any other soul. The Spirit, originally brought it into being. More of these another day.
Codeine and Tramadol
To this subject, we must hurry back. Before I address Alternative Medicine options to them, I would like to say that Nigeria’s reaction to their abuse by young people is a ”fire alarm” syndrome. Young people take these drugs because they wish to ”high up” many musicians either at clubs or in their music are teaching these young people to ”high up”. And because the music appeals to millions of young people, these musicians are raking in millions of Naira from every album of Junk music they hurl at the market such that, in this constricted economy where there are no jobs for millions of young people, some of them can lavish cars worth N25 millions on a girl friend as a birthday gift!
The churches and mosques are not helping matters. At weddings and birthday parties in church premises, for example, Junk music is the reigning music. I see house wives and mothers, who should stand respectable before their children, sing and dance to Junk music which denigrade womanhood or, as my grandmother would describe them, music which ”insult the passage through which these musicians and their followers came to this earth”. We see misdemeanor all around us, but cannot relate it to this degeneracy.
Fathers are sleeping with their daughters, and making them pregnant. Men in their seventies are having carnal knowledge of girls under 15 years of age. Rape cases are growing in number. The latent, frightening trend is that wives, even enlightening are either off the genitals of unfaithful husbands in their sleep, or bathing the genitals with acid and then killing their husbands. Everything is upside down, no, more upside down than they have ever been. Depression is almost everywhere!
In the state of depression, energy within the soul does not equal energy acting against it from the outside. The pumelling energy in the state of disequilibrium comprises those social forces we all have to contend against every day.
Earlier, I said the ban on Codeine and Tramadol is ”fire alarm” response. Now, I will call it ”Shadow Chasing”.
In the opinion of some enlightened people, a more holistic approach would have been better. Banning Codeine and Tamadol will send them underground. Don’t these stuff find their ways into prisons? The labeling and packaging may change. They are too cheap not to be attractive. Even in the event of a possible rout being possible, what about adhesive gum. These cheaps merely light it up and inhale the smoke to ”high up”. If we can ban all adhesive gums in the market and introduce natural gums made of fufu, eba or agidi, what about the methane gas from septic tanks these fellows inhale to high up. Before you know it, some smart entrepreneurs may package this into a form of inhaler !
The warning of Dr. Richard Adebayo, Medical Director of the Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, is an early warning alarm of a time bomb waiting to explode. He said the young generation was hooked on drugs which were damaging their brain and bending their minds, and that they may in future populate Nigeria with citizens of damage brains and bend minds.
In my view, the motor parks must be ridden of these people. So must the rank and file of the herdsmen. We need to build more psychiatric hospitals in every state and train more psychiatrics and doctors. The anti-drug agencies must comb the country for them with a view to not persecute them, but to take them to hospitals for rehabilitation. Then, the government must find ways of incorporating into the medical treatment those foods and healing herbs (the subject of the next part of this series) which promote brain, nerve and which help in the repair of damagedor mangled brain cells.