Many Nigerian IDPs now addicted to Tramadol after escaping Boko Haram

Many Nigerian IDPs now addicted to Tramadol after escaping Boko Haram

- Some displaced persons in camps have become addicted to the use of Tramadol

- These individuals said the drug eases the pain of hunger since there was little or no food available for the displaced persons in the camp

- According to a camp official, the black market dealers of Tramadol have made the displaced persons believe that the drug is magical

Most internally displaced persons in various camps have become addicted to Tramadol, a synthetic (man-made) pain reliever (analgesic) which binds to receptors in the brain (narcotic or opioid receptors) and are important for transmitting the sensation of pain from throughout the body to the brain.

The use of the drug which can be addictive have mostly been abused by many youth across Nigeria.

A report by Al Jazeera shows how many of the displaced persons living in camps after being forced to leave their hometown have become addicted to the use of the opioid drug.

One of these IDPs Aliyu Yusuf, who after an attack in Gwoza, his hometown by Boko Haram terrorists said he never heard of Tramadol until he arrived in an IDP in 2016.

Yusuf who puts up in Madinatu camp located in the outskirts of Maiduguri said a man he had made friends with offered him the drug to ease the pain of hunger since there was little or no food available for the displaced persons in the camp.

According to Yusuf, on his first trial, he was relieved with the use of a few tablets, leading to the beginning of his addiction.

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"I feel very empty without Tramadol. It is the only thing that makes me tough and takes away all my pain away," Yusuf said.

Just like Yusuf, a 23-year-old Shettima, whose two brothers were killed in a Boko Haram attack in Bama town in 2015, said he was introduced to the drug by someone in the camp.

Shettima said nothing matters to him anymore once he takes Tramadol which he also said takes away all his pains.

He said: "When fear comes, Tramadol takes it away."

It was gathered that in 2015 when the camp was first erected, Tramadol was relatively unknown by the camp dwellers.

A resident in Borno state the dealers have managed to give users the impression that Tramadol is a magic drug.

Hauwa Salihu said: "They (dealers) gave the impression that it was a magic drug that will make whoever takes it very happy. People began to rush it since then."

Salihu who has lived in Madinatu since escaping from Damboa town in 2015 when Boko Haram attacked said user have some level excitement after using the addictive drug.

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Also Yusuf Mohammed, a senior official at the Borno Community Coalition, an association of NGOs in Borno State supporting vulnerable IDPs said the use of the drug keeps growing on a daily basis.

Mohammed said users now buy the drug market following its ban by the federal government.

"It appears black marketers, who may be working with Tramadol smugglers, have found a huge market with IDPs," Mohammed said.

Meanwhile, previously reported that the first ever survey on drug use in the country has shown that 14.3 million people who are between the ages of 15 and 64 use drugs.

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The survey also revealed that Nigeria is among some of the countries with the highest use of non-medical opioids in the world.

The outcome of the survey was released on Tuesday, January 29, and was carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Centre of Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) in collaboration with Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union (EU).

The report of the survey also showed how there is a wide gap in catering for people who needs treatment and care for those with drug abuse. ( -> Same great journalism, upgraded for better service!

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