As the FDA clamped down on tramadol sales from Pharmacy shops, Over the Counter Medicines Sellers (OTCMS) and other dentified sales joints in the Bolgatanga Municipality, the Tramadol abusers have substituted the strong pain killer with cough mixtures.
The most patronised cough syrups with hyper-dazing substances include; Kofex, Viscof-D, Cofron Plus, Bella Tripple Action and samalin cough syrup among others.
A careful study of the labels on these cough mixtures showed some common ingredients such as Chlorphenamine Maleate, codeine phosphate, Diphenhydramine hydrochloride, ammonium Chloride among others.
Mr Lawrence Atongo, a Pharmacist in Bolgatanga, in an interview explained that the ingredients causing the youth to patronise the cough syrups are: codeine and Diphenhydramine. “Once you see these two in the cough mixture, then they have the potentials to be abused. They are classified under the opiods family and behave like cocaine, petedine, tramadol and heroin among others.”
According to the Pharmacist, even though these ingredients were of different classes depending on their actions, codeine and Diphenhydramine were not as active as the major ingredients in cocaine, morphine and petedine, adding that the higher the doses abused, the higher and faster the reaction and effect.
He said when highly abused, the ingredients make their users feel some level of euphoria, and enjoy whatever effects they take the drugs for. “Some mix full bottle of about 125m of these cough mixtures with alcoholic beverages such as Guinness and the various whiskies and bitters on the market and some take it whole to derive maximum reactions”.
Mr Atongo who is also Managing Director of Endswell Pharmaceuticals in Bolgatanga, indicated that even though Diphenhydramine is not a narcotic, it had a central acting property and affected the brain and makes users drowsy. “It has the same reaction like the other ones that are narcotics. It makes users feel they have taken some high class drugs like cocaine, or wee and usually reacted on the brain to get them to be active”.
He said unlike Diphenhydramine, the reactions on ingredients such as Chlorphenamine are not as effective as those in Diphenhydramine. “When one takes piriton or even diazepam (Volume or sleeping tablets), it puts one to sleep because it goes to numb your nerves and when the nerves are numbed that will cause you to sleep but because you are using your body to work you don’t feel tired”. He explained.
Further investigations conducted by the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga showed that patrons of the cough mixture empty the whole 125m of the drug into an alcoholic beverage mostly Guinness and other spirits and take everything to get high up.
The drug which is usually patronised by frail and junk looking young men is usually acquired from pharmacy shops and OTCMS as the sale of Tramadol is becoming restricted on the market.