The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has raised the alarm over the rapid emergence of a dangerous new psychoactive substance (NPS) known as Akuskura. The drug is said to be made of herbs, which is laced with tobacco and cannabis. It is rapidly replacing controlled substances, which are dominant in the Northern and Southwestern parts of the country. According to the NDLEA chairman’s special assistant, Mahmud Isa Yola, the effect of the drug includes sudden, violent and irregular movement of the body as well as contraction of muscles.
Akuskura, which is also known as Kuskura or Kurkura, is derived from the Hausa word “Kuskura,” which can be used to mean gargling and rinsing interchangeably. The special assistant explained that it is of different varieties. It can be in both liquid and powder forms. It is used by people who mostly seek to “get high,” that is, to be intoxicated. The drug is largely distributed under the guise of herbs and retailed by local herbalists and Islamic chemists.
More than 7000 bottles intercepted along Abuja-Kaduna highway.
A bottle of codeine is sold between N7,000 and N25,000 and even more. Codeine is an opiate and an ingredient of morphine used to treat pain, coughing and diarrhea, but it is abused as an intoxicating drug by addicts. Being an inexpensive option, Akuskura offers substance abusers an easy alternative with just N100 or even less. The drug got the attention of the anti-narcotics agency after more than 7000 bottles of the illegal substances were intercepted along the Abuja-Kaduna highway.
The bottles were slated for distribution in Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, Gombe and Nasarawa States. The agency has made several arrests and seizures across the country. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently announced a ban on the drug. Meanwhile, intelligence gathering and enforcement actions are ongoing by the NDLEA. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) describes NPS as substances of abuse that are not controlled by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychoactive Substances but threatens public health.
Special assistant calls for intensive efforts against its spread and consumption.
The special assistant to NDLEA chairman, Mahmud Yola, has called for concerted efforts against the spread and consumption of Akuskura. He said that the social harms of NPS are often largely unexplored, and this makes prevention and counseling extremely difficult. While some believe that it gives them the energy to work efficiently without being subjected to physical fatigue, others insist that it cures malaria, typhoid, pile, and headaches, and it increases their performance in bed.
Yola quoted a wholesaler in Zaria city explaining that the substance is originally meant for treating headaches and catarrh but that it also serves as a poster remedy against jinns and evil spirits. Yola said, “he says Kuskura is also used as a sex enhancer among men. However, there is no scientific explanation for whether the substances are safe or can cure any form of sickness. This therefore drives home the fact that the substance has no established medicinal value. Despite its unsafe nature, Akuskura is patronized by thousands of people in Nigeria.”
NDLEA remains committed to campaign against drug abuse.
The NDLEA still remains committed to their campaign against drug and substance abuse across the country. Few weeks ago, the agency destroyed 560 tons of cocaine and cannabis in what could be described as the largest in the 32-year-old history of the anti-narcotic agency. The chairman of the agency said that this is a strong message to drug barons and cartels that they will continue to lose their huge investments in the criminal trade if they fail to quit and look for other legitimate businesses.