The Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board (KPPB) has moved in to tame the abuse and addiction of medicines containing codeine with a clamp on its sale.
Codeine is an active ingredient in cough syrups that causes drowsiness and therefore, a feeling oh “high” making it a cheap substitute for cocaine and other narcotics.
One encyclopedia describes it as an opiate (opium-derived drug) used to treat pain, coughs, and diarrhea. It is typically used to treat mild to moderate degrees of pain
Codeine is popular with university students and Khat addicts.
KPPB has banned all pharmacies from selling any medicine with codeine as one of the active ingredients without a valid prescription from a duly registered medical practitioner.
The board’s registrar Fred Siyoi directed that all valid descriptions will have both the patient’s and medical practitioner’s personal details even as no refills will be allowed.
“All marketing authorisation holders should make arrangements within the next six months to change packages of medicines that contain codeine to include clear and prominently positioned warnings on the label and the importance of not taking these medicines for longer than three days,” he added.
Found in most cough and cold syrups, codeine has been a growing narcotic sensation with most users saying it gives them a euphoric floating sensation.
In a recent opinion piece published by The Standard, former Isiolo governor Mohamed Guleid decried the effects of drug on the youth from northern Kenya.
“The sad state of it is perhaps reflected in most of their homes where they tether their educated youths on trees for excessive use of codeine to tame their violence and zombie-like zeal. Some are rude and outright violent to their parents from whom they demand money to go get the drug,” he wrote.