#Conundrum, #Drug Abuse, #earth, #KamandaKoroma, #love, #lust, #nature, #poem, #poetry, #sierra-leone, #the human-condition, #thoughts, Uncategorized

The Opioid Trail: Tramadol Abuse in Sierra Leone


It was a bright day with blue skies, sunny with just the right amount of soft winds. One of the rare blessings of residing in the coastal city of Freetown in the dry season is the beautiful weather at that time of the year. I was riding shotgun, a friend at the wheel, a Drake song blaring on the stereo.

Destination: Tokeh Beach.

Stuck for over half an hour in the notorious traffic jam between Wilkinson Road and Lumley, frustrated about the delay, we were accosted by one of the street hawkers peddling his goods. He approached the car window on my side , peered in then tapped me by my arm , then laughed and shouted our nicknames. It may have been that there was no sign of recognition on our faces. I did a double take when I recognized that resounding laughter, then slowly as I stared at him, it was as if the years fell away from his facial features layer by layer.

This was an old friend from high school. It had been years since we last saw him.

We located a suitable parking space, pulled over and kick start conversation. We reminisced about school days and the funny shenanigans we masterminded. All the while we laughed, I noticed the premature wrinkles and hardened features on his once gentle face. It was obvious the years hadn’t been kind to him. He explained to us that a string of family issues and financial problems had led him down the path to the depths of drug abuse.

Tramadol he said was the only reprieve he had from an otherwise cold world that had turned it’s back on him. We offered advice and assistance to him but he only shook his head and remarked that the pills had no addictive tendencies. After several prodding from us, he became withdrawn and said he had to return to his trading. We exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch and went our separate ways.

I called his number a few times with no response.

It would be the last time I ever saw him again.

This was two years ago.

Since then, the onslaught of Tramadol has continued unabated amongst the youths of Sierra Leone like a vengeful succubus.

Tramadol is an opioid drug that is prescribed for relief from moderate or moderately severe pain by medical doctors. It was considered as a better alternative to most narcotic analgesic medications.

Somehow, along the lines this drug became the go to drug for quick highs and mood enhancing. The myth that followed in it’s wake was the deceptive talk of it’s non addictive qualities.
In Sierra Leone, the ghettos, slums and even in club scenes, it has assumed many other attributes. Many non-prescribed users boast of it’s nature to boost their sex drive, others claim that it is the cure for their work stress and other problems.

These non facts are spread by quacks, and charlatans who sell these drugs from their stalls, and petty traders who have no medical qualification in that regard. The department of health regulation in the country is ill-equipped to tackle the issue as they are under funded and lack the necessary man power to tackle these illegal and counterfeit vendors.

Children as young as 9 have been known to take Tramadol.

I once encountered a scuffle that had just been separated, it was a teen who purchased the drug with the intention of taking it so as to give him the “bravery and heart” to stab a friend whom he had quarreled with over different views after a football match. If not for timely intervention, it would have been a lethal saga.

Stories like these and more are abound in the neighborhoods of Sierra Leone. Tramadol is especially popular amongst female street walkers and ‘Okada’ bike riders who claim it keeps the wind and cold away from them on cold nights because it numbs their senses.
You are bound to see either of the two popping tramadol like bubblegum or altoids .

In a country that has a considerable number of it’s denizens still clinging onto to superstitious beliefs, combating mental health issues and drug abuse is an up hill task. There’s a high chance of an addict to be taken to a church or voodoo shrine for supernatural delivery and demonic exorcism than to the hospital for medical assistance.

Indeed, there are stories of many individuals who when rehabilitated from abusive lifestyles by either a result of distance from it or when medically treated are bound to believe and accept the brainwashed superstitious narrative of family members that it was divinely manifested rather than their actions.

Surely, faith in a supreme deity goes with a strong understanding of care for ones health as is echoed in most religions.

Addiction to Tramadol causes a dependency which lead many young individuals to resort to theft as a desperate measure to satiate their high. The higher the dosage they take, the greater it elevates their mood which makes them to increase the dosage they consume. It’s not surprising that most tramadol addicts from impoverished backgrounds are identifiable at first glance when they are in withdrawal.

Mostly sweating, nervous, periods of swooning due to nausea, and a tendency to twitch as if restless. Developed stages of tramadol addiction are bound to make addicts, paranoid, delusional and subject to hallucinations.

During the just concluded election, this drug was in vogue as many politicians parceled it out in droves to supporters to use as a means to stimulate violence. It was not uncommon to see youths go berserk and self harm themselves or others before having fits of seizures. Yet no politician has ever been held accountable for the negative acts of derailing the future of scores of young men.

The lack of rehabilitation centres nationwide is another issue. What we have are a few institutions that have more in common with 17th Century asylums and madhouses like Bedlam and rife with questionable techniques of treating patients than they do with the modern methods of diagnosing and treating them.
There are very limited centres that offer adequate inpatient treatment with around the clock supervision that lasts for over a month.
Coupled with the fact that outpatient programs are almost non existent in this side of the world for evening or late therapy sessions after patients have been discharged to their homes.
It’s no small wonder that most addicts deteriorate beyond saving.
The taboo with which mental health is associated with makes it a hassle for the existence of peer group organizations to thrive in.

The health sector is in dire need of boosting and much adequate funding, to not only to treat the patients but also to police and regulate the influx of this drug into the borders of the country.

A nation is only as strong as it’s human resource.

We all must all do more to aid in the sensitization on the dangers of tramadol dependency and drug abuse as a whole.

Save lives. Regain friends.
Restore Families.

#Conundrum

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#Conundrum, #Drug Abuse, #Greed, #KamandaKoroma, #landmark, #love, #lust, #nature, #poem, #poetry, #sierra-leone, #sierra-leone literature, #the human-condition, Uncategorized

Cosmic Logic


She was a swift one, graceful like a cheetah in custom high heels

you couldn’t take your eyes off her,

in her gaze men found demise in their lust to own her as a trophy

yet they were left petrified permanently piqued

medusa tinged brazilian hair flowing way below her nape accentuated her shapely hillcut road curves

over the edge with a smile she drove men

but they crawled back pleading with gifted apples of a different sort than the one Eve knew..
you see, Andromina was a bad bitch.

love poems or deep lyrics had no sway with her

neither did gene passed fine features

she wasn’t that sentimental

to her..

sexiness was the sound of that green paper, handsome was the revving of that shiny new G Wagon and funny but smart she found that slick crib with the swimming pool.

this was her religion.
.. damned she was to the temporary bliss it brought her and blind to the world

she deafened her ears to the whisperings, blotted out the prejudiced looks and numbed her heart to the memories she deleted

.. she convinced herself daily she was a good one and only the Most High could judge her.

… and not anyone.

In that hope she laid her bet.
she hoped to wear white some day and walk down the aisle to be ringed by some mystery gent who either forgave her past or knew nothing about it…

for this she made crusades her second home and absolvitory social media religious posts a daily dose…

her faith in miracles was unchallenged
… sadly it wasn’t to be

for in her prime, her dreams were cut short

not by the viral infections of her night escapades or some moral backlash for her sins

but by a drunk taxi driver who after a rowdy evening of fermented cocktail of kosovo and stanky kush slept on the wheel and ran her down to her permanent slumber

… and the world did not stop.

.. afterall

It was just another dead human.

#Conundrum

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Ramblings


The curse of knowing outweighs the bliss of ignorance,

this deep vault of mine overfills with confidante memories hoping for an Obliviate spell that never seem to come.

Summoning the will to wear that smile is a miracle that I’ve come to see as ordinary

Loki got nothing on me with his mask,

I got them galore like these emojis.
On some days, I stare at my reflection seeing a stranger gazing back.

Broadway needs me

Hamilton could do with a new cast member, I come highly recommended by Pence.

These days I am increasingly fueled by a raging desire to overprice depressed thoughts

Or get lost in the flow of books in the jungle of Amazon.

Nothing is real, ebooks leave me thirsty

I miss the smell of pages

their wrinkled edges and the torn covers that tells me it’s earlier readers validate it’s dopeness

I miss them all.

Even my Red Devil’s trident is broken,

so when I finally drown to the depths of my reverie, I may ask Poseidon for another

and stab Mourinho with it
Or I may not..

Until that next bourbon shot …

I’ll leisurely swim in these rambling and crazed thoughts of mine.

#Conundrum