Sierra Leone Declares Emergency Over Kush Abuse, a Drug Made from Human Bones; Here’s A Detailed Explanation

West African nation Sierra Leone has declared an emergency for the most unusual of causes. The move has been precipitated by increasing addiction among the population to the drug kush, made from human bones.

In fact, over half of the patients who have been admitted to the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital have been admitted for kush-related issues.

What is Kush, and why has it become a problem which has plunged the small nation into a crisis, leading to Sierra Leone’s president declaring an emergency?

Continue reading to know more about this drug and why it has created havoc in the civil society of Sierra Leone.

The word Kush means any drug derived from Cannabis, and the word originated from the Hindu Kush, the lawless mountainous region in Afghanistan well known as a major supplier of opium and heroin derived from the Cannabis plant, which is cultivated in the region.

However, the Kush affecting Sierra Leone is a concoction of different synthetic products and cannabis, but what sets it apart from other drugs is one of its components: human bones.

The demand for human bones has led to the evolution of grave diggers and thieves who dig out human remains to be utilized in the manufacture of Kush.

The problem has become so acute that the government has to post security personnel at cemeteries to prevent theft from graves.

Kush, a psychoactive blend of addictive substances, has been in use for years. While its use has suddenly spiked in recent years, President Julius Maada Bio, while declaring a state of emergency, has labeled it a death trap and has led to an existential crisis.

Moving across Sierra Leone, one can easily see groups of youth with their limbs swollen and infected—one of the side effects of excessive use of Kush.

Kush is a toxic concoction made of herbs, cannabis, and disinfectant, and the hallucinogenic effects are prolonged, and the drug is also dirt cheap. One of the main ingredients in Kush is human bone, which is crushed and mixed in the drug. Its effects are not clear, but according to some, it amplifies the kick of the drug due to the sulfur content in the bones. The composition of the drug can vary, and Fentanyl and tramadol are said to be ingredients, as is formalin, a disinfectant.

The drug also causes morbidity, but there is no data available on the people who lost their lives after chronic consumption of Kush. The main cause of morbidity is usually organ failure. Kush is also taking a big toll on mental health, and the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital has seen a surge of patients related to ailments caused by Kush surging by almost 4000%.

In a nationwide broadcast on Thursday night, President Bio said: “Our country is currently faced with an existential threat due to the ravaging impact of drugs and substance abuse, particularly the devastating synthetic drug Kush.”

The government is also setting up a National Task Force on Drugs and Substance Abuse, as well as Help Centers, with the stated goal of combating the Kush crisis. The president has also asked the police and law enforcement agencies to break the drug supply chain with better policing and prosecutions.

At present, there is only one functioning drug rehabilitation center, a 100-bed hospital, and it is inadequate to treat the ever-increasing number of patients with ailments related to Kush use.

Kush first hit the streets of Sierra Leone half a dozen or so years ago. It is manufactured by and distributed by criminal gangs and is cheap at 5 leones or 20 pence per joint. Continuous use leads to addiction, and the dose increases until the user is smoking around £8 a day, a huge sum compared to the GDP of £400 a year of the impoverished nation.

Addiction also causes serious mental as well as physical health issues. It has been reported that people often suffer from swollen limbs with open wounds, which are often infected. However, there is no medical explanation for this. People have been reported to bang their heads on the sidewalks, run head-on into traffic, and fall from high places. The data on fatalities associated with Kush use is scarce, but officials admit that a dozen Kush users die weekly in Sierra Leone. Most of the victims are from the lower strata of society.

Sierra Leone is not the only country grappling with a drug abuse problem. Many countries across West Africa like Liberia and Guinea are also facing similar situations. It is estimated that more than a million people from the region are now addicted. High unemployment and surging inflation are driving the youth towards drug addiction. All the nations had in the past undergone a period of political instability and civil war. Lack of health resources is also compounding the problem.

Also Read: WATCH: Dexter Reed Getting Fired 96 Times In 41 Seconds Video Goes Viral

Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

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