‘Tramol’ as they call it gets them into another realm when they take it, knowledge about the effects of the drug, though reduces their crave for it is not enough to deter them completely from taking it.
Tramadol, the drug which has kept the FDA and health experts on their toes for over a period now considering the devastating effects it is having on Ghanaians is now a ‘headache’ for young men living at Old Fadama in Accra as they fight their way through to get over their addiction to the drug.
Despite having seen a number of his friends die from seizures and the likes after taking as many as four sachets of the drug, Kojo S.K, one of the ‘boys-boys’ who resides at Old Fadama will take the Tramadol drug on a day he has a ‘match’ with his girlfriend and occasionally when he has some cash to spare and wants to hang out with friends.
“As many as 3 to four hours non-stop”, that’s how much he can go on a ‘match day’ in bed with his girlfriend he explained and it’s all ‘thanks’ to the energy Tramadol provides.
“I don’t just take the drug, I take it to boost my sexual escapades, I’m able to go three to four hours non-stop when I take the drug, it gives me energy. I’m 25 years old, I take it occasionally when I’m going to meet my girlfriend and or hang out with friends for fun…….I’ve seen a lot of my friends die as a result of this drug, some take as many as four sachets. Many of them have seizures and fall into the Korle Lagoon.”
“I don’t often take tramadol, but when I do I feel good and I sleep very well after my rounds” he noted.
That’s just one story, from the ‘hood boys’ in the area. ‘Horror’ as he identifies himself, on his part takes tramadol as a hustler to work through the day without feeling tired.
“I feel the drug Tramol, it gives me energy and without it, I’m unable to fight back when I’m bullied in the course of my job”, the 23-year-old hustler told GH One’s Nana Aba Anamoah on ‘State of Affairs’.
“2 doses of the 250mg tabs will get me through a day, carting goods for people. I feel down when I don’t take it but I’m re-energised when I take it. I ended up on the floor one time after taking it. I’ve read about it and I know I have to stop taking it but when I stop for about 5 days, I feel sick and cold, I only become all sorts of happy again after I take it”, he continued.
The source of my drugs he said, are “drug stores and the Abochi guys who sell….the pharmacists will sell for you just like they will sell paracetamol to you”, he narrated.
DJ Bro Joe is able to walk around 2 days without blinking an eye after taking the drug for his job (Disk Jockyeing).
“I was a shy person and I needed to take the drugs for boldness and energy to move the crowd, a friend introduced me to it but I realized that after taking the drug in the evening, I’m unable to sleep, sometimes for two whole days and it wasn’t helping me so I stopped”.
Worried about the rate at which lives are being lost because of the drug, these boys believe government should take stringent measures to stop the import of the drug into the country and ban the sale of it on the market. The unavailability of the drug to purchase they believe will dissuade them and help them get over their dependence on it.
“Those bringing in the drugs, why are they not being prevented? And why is it accessible just anybody? Because it is being allowed, some people think it is normal to take just because you won’t see the immediate effect of the drug”, S.K. quizzed.
“I would wish that the sale of the drug is banned on the market so we don’t get access then only can we learn to control ourselves and stop taking it altogether. Once it’s available, its really hard to stop taking”, Horror stated.
The introduction of Tramadol, a pain relief drug which according to medical experts, functions like heroin and can cause psychotic problems as well as damage vital organs in the human body if abused in the system has raised much concerns as alarming figures of abuse and loss of lives have been recorded as a result of the drug.
Recent surveys have shown that the drug is being abused by some youth, as well as some market women, drivers and in some cases students.
Findings have shown that Tramadol abuse has killed more people than heroin and cocaine.
The Food and Drugs Authority and the health Ministry are making efforts to deal with the situation. Joint efforts with security agencies are also being made to arrest and bring to book persons dealing in the sale of Tramadol in various parts of the country.
The volume approved by the FDA to be sold is 50mg and 100mg, much as 250mg however is being sold on the markets.