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tv   West Africas Opioid Crisis  Al Jazeera  December 26, 2019 12:32pm-1:00pm +03

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west africa is battling an opioid abuse trust medicine such as tramadol legally prescribed by doctors from pain relief but taken into life threatening texts by millions in search for the fakes already strong competent and the. people in power has been to nigeria to investigate have the drug smuggling trade and abused widespread corruption to follow since in this traffic and the appalling health consequences for those in its grip.
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ringback if you're going to stay in the midst of the worst drug addiction and family and it's barely a week goes by without spring international reports like these documents and america's opioid crisis. the u.s. is not the only country facing such a predicament really. lagos nigeria is africa's largest city in the country with the biggest population on the continent over 200000000 people. the city is overcrowded polluted and poverty stricken. and adding to its woes its suffering its wide scale and growing opioid addiction epidemic. i was abusing the list if you do this if you still need to take time i don't feel like you haven't yet tramadol a lifesaving opioid painkiller is also being abused on a massive scale by all sectors of society a little too cool for for. this
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regulates of the other opioid painkillers like. a drug which has been implicated in more than 400000 deaths in the us since 2000 tramadol is less dangerous than oxycodone it's no less addictive according to a new study by the mayo clinic a prestigious us medical center the key findings our study which was looking at the effect of tramadol on long term dependence in patients with acute sort of pain was the patients who received tramadol actually to our surprise i did not have lower rates of long term opioid use but actually had slightly higher rates of going on to long term opioid use tramadol is currently a schedule for opioids versus other opioids like oxy caught on or schedule 2 meaning that the government considers those at higher risk of abuse and long term dependence we found is in fact really tramadol is not actually any lower interest rate of abuse for long term dependence the epidemic isn't just confined to lagos
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it's infected the into. country. the united nations. released the results of nigeria. what we found is really of concern of grave concern when we're talking about a nonmedical. almost 5000000 users over the past 12 months and the tendency appears to be rising poverty unemployment desperation of people and their living situations is one of the drivers a lot of people seem to be using it associated with hard manual labor with sex work for a sex worker. eases her ability to submit to a client's more extreme demands she calls the drug street name.
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meaning. 50. 50. and most other abuses legal and highly dangerous version of the drug legally produced. 50 or 100 milligrams tap that is being used widely for pain therapy it is really for a large part of the population the only pain medication. when we're talking about
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abuse great tramadol. we're talking about. significantly over a. 100 milligram what we have seen in seizures up to 225 milligrams and what we have heard in the reports of. people mentioned even up to 400 to 500 taps. we had. from a stable middle class family and works as a chef. ground. in the ground. each pull cost $300.00. a pull that's more than double the strength of legally available. to much of.
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my friends the. views of. the. drugs so where does this abuse come from that is being produced both legally as well as that is produced specifically for the non-medical use is being produced in. tory's it is reaching nigeria primarily by sea it's entering through 2 major ports of lagos. this begs the question. of nigeria how does it get so widely distributed across the country. to interview to lagos drug dealers he agreed to be filmed as we didn't show his face. his business
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consists of a. in a suitcase full of with legal drugs. the tramadol he keeps out of sight i'm not counting terminal in sandy hook and just having to time i don't know but sometimes a pocket determined. most of his clients are young men. when he moves because. now i just guys will be pushing. all souls to woman bank time and on the phone and then. when the waiting staff are told you have to do cool foods to meet i'm selling time on the left sometimes that's wrong turn to pills a week a significant amount for a street below where we wanted to know does he get them from these people became his and us i mean come on talks to us in secret in did not knowing even though you
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go to town on those 3 huntingdon unclear at this point he became wary and wouldn't tell us anything more about a supply as we put this question to you in o.t.c. we need to be very honest we know relatively little about the criminal networks that are being involved how well they're organized how large they are. there's about 7 or 8 different nationalities that i've been identified the other issue that suggests a certain level of sophistication is to mere size of the individual seizures some of these seizures allegedly are reaching several tons dozens of tolls which really suggests like a relatively sophisticated process. to find out more about such seizures we arranged a visit to a park nigeria's largest and busiest ports. in 2018 customs and other authorities seized 41 containers of illegal tramadol here. its
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goal to buy an armed convoy of cars. drug law enforcement officials that's what they came to show us today. this. is from. $2800.00 seizures were a coup for the authorities the largest single seizure involved $33.00 containers. they claimed 198000000000. $550000000.00 u.s. dollars. with such massive sums of money involved we want to know how many perpetrators had been brought to book. many people who have been. in. the. i can do speak for this time. the.
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investigation is going on on once is concluded prosecuted. but in the past they have been. coming here. is wonderful for. the national drug agency or indeed later told us that in the last 2 years only 5 people have been charged in relation to the seizures the prosecution is a still in process and to date no one's been convicted. we asked the commander about allegations of corruption at the port. is not an issue because he walked in for like yes i don't think this issue. but the events which unfolded soon after seemed to indicate otherwise he phoned the
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customs official handing off a box of trial. to a port worker. then we captured boxes of the drug being thrown over the fanes. finally as we were leaving the paperwork was arrested going to literally for stealing tramadol we tried to film that to one. of the words. my you tell me of the. you know i must. have let them. know. you. know. customs did take it seriously filming that is we were detained and pressured to delete our footage of the arrest. in the end though they let us go and official
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later confirmed that the arista pool worker had stolen the tramadol. but the ports of lagos are just the start of the problem next we travel to my degree in the north east of nigeria the city was once the headquarters of. the islamic state franchise terrorizing this part of the country since 2009. which has been fighting a jury and military forces attacking schools and declaring an islamic state in territory it controls since then through attacks and suicide bombings that killed an estimated 27000 people over 2000000 civilians have been displaced. we've heard disturbing reports the tramadol might be playing a role in the insurgency. to understand how the conflict is affecting civilians here we interview a psychiatry my degrees federal neuropsychiatric hospital. i many patients although
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he shows us around a rehab. isn't it it's almost empty but that isn't for lack of those needing treatment. and. the source of livelihood of. treatment also since the insurrection began he's seen previously unthinkably high dosages of tramadol come on to the market we have. 625. individuals to 10. $25.00 shocking indeed that's
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over 60 times the maximum legal dosage. one of those who can't afford treatment is above my. comment than if i didn't i won a number of items of which were the. same question and she has them all right a cue. that was 4 years ago. as another that's going to go $100.00 more times of the minus would i get an e. the other day that he does not. that's because of the sin i was once in that i don't know if this is a god i had no idea. at the time of his brother's death draghi flayed his village. he now lives in a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts my degree. lead us over the ruins in the serenity garment. with the vicar had to. get it down always. believed to do we were no one any one no whiny anyone no one he
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don't look at any. it took or knew go into god he has anybody it's not as he already did i mean intended to question one and see the region if i have or now when one time when i shall but as i'm going to academia. in other nickname i say how i down in the n.b.a. she hasn't yet. and it's not just civilians are taking. that the drug is fueling the insurgency itself. for security reasons we could only interview. like many of these arrested fighters he was forced to
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join the movement when he was in the teens. he was in the movement for 4 years before escaping. now he lives in a refugee camp outside my degree. and . put them to work because.
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the drug enabled them to carry out these arduous 24 missions it was also used to groom them for what was to come. so you know. we don't want to do that that. you know. he's led the group to become even more violent committing a text suicide bombings and most infamously the abduction of 276 school girls from chibok village 2014. go back to work assure you you're listening. to.
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the tramadol also help to be deeply traumatic memory and. now much. more than i think. that you know she's. actually. you're going to. how do i say. yes yes no doubt that the drug is essential to sustaining insurgency but i want to. do so. but i don't want to go.
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finally we travel westwards to qana jarius 2nd largest city. it's got one of the highest poverty rates the country and also some of its worst tramadol abuse. at the mena connor teaching hospital boston a system of legally prescribed tramadol and the dangers of the illegal street version can be seen in one location. this morning. with the patients. the psychiatric ward is struggling to cope with the fallout from the abuse grade version 44 bates. 50 to 60 percent of our clients. use drops due to the lack of resources drug users share the same ward with psychiatric patients we handle those are all some tones which take
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short period of time and then we have to undo the psychological depend. on issues that are on that and it takes a long time even after you need to be quite a long time patient. but the flip side of the tramadol is this over regulating it would have disastrous results in a general ward we visit a patient for whom trammels an essential pain treatment. suffers from sickle cell disease a blood disorder which causes acute pain and stunts growth although he looks much younger he's actually 18. he said.
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the nigerian government in an effort to clamp down on the beauty of coding based cough syrups banned them extensively some doctors and experts are concerned that the authorities might resort to similar tactics. if you buy drugs. because. they need the drug so if. we visit the local commander. in the city they tell us they slowly winning the war against illegal trying.
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to illustrate they doing to show us what used to be. the prison is relocated to make room for. not only is it being sold nigeria but it's being trafficked to neighboring countries to come from. since. this is very. existence.
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was. passed. through to. the for 5 months since. all this trouble they tell us mr stone for destruction of the jail full of it is just a drop in the ocean the country still drowning in the drug. next we join in india a drug raid. looking and acting very much like the americans you train them they take to the streets in an armored convoy. in a display of force they travel through kano shunting traffic of the rising you know you right here they disembark to read a large local market. heavy handed operation probably put on for our benefit produces few results they arrest a young man wearing
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a cannabis t. shirt. it's unclear if you even has any cannabis on him nevertheless he's bundled onto an india a truck which is fast filling up with other young men from the market. nigeria has a 55 percent youth unemployment rate. it also has the highest number of people living in extreme poverty in the world even more than india so men like these sometimes turn to drug dealing out of necessity. it's not sits in the right preps up but can i jerry is war against illegal tramadol really be one with guns without addressing the underlying causes of poverty unemployment and inequality that seems highly unlikely.
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the pollution is palpable. delis shares the symptoms of many modern metropolis but its unique features have be gotten a crisis. people in power investigates the toxic mix feeding the city's invisible killer and asks why more is not being done to relieve its citizens these deadly aired on al-jazeera. when the news breaks today the current government has lost trust the people they cannot do anything because the protestors are against it when people to be cut by what was the represent the loft scholz for opponents of rex it's drawing from the conservatives al-jazeera has teams on the ground it now hopes that meeting in paris will push politicians to create a competent and credible government to bring new moon documentaries and life needs
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