There has been a flurry of vague report about a supposedly addictive and debilitating pseudo-cannabis substance that’s circulating in Sierra Leone. This may be akin to illicit products such as K2 and Spice, widely marketed in the US and Europe — but reports are unclear to give a lucid explanation about this drug.

Over the last few months, there has been an outbreak of illicit drugs ravaging poverty-stricken communities across Sierra Leone. This new drug called “Kush” has so many code names depending on who you speak with. It is sometimes called “spice” or “K2”, though there is a major scientific conundrum about the exact mixture or concoction used to produce “Kush”. It is believed that, “Kush” is a mix of “plant matter” sprayed with an ever-changing chemical, in sometimes dangerously high proportions.

Quite recently, the distribution of a number of clips on social media showing the side effects of “Kush” on our youthful population is alarming. The danger is that every section of society is affected. What makes it very disturbing is that, even some of our trusted and loyal security men of the states have succumbed to “Kush”. Some have been reduced to public ridicule and others have lost their jobs. The embarrassment that comes with taking “Kush” tends to be colossal. Gloomy images show supposed addicts literally groveling in filth in an open sewer; frenzied youth gesticulating wildly and self-mutilating; teary-eyed living in penury; along with their emaciated bones shivering all through as they smoke and puff up the said harmful substance. The scary side of it is that “Kush” concoction goes with “formalin” a substance that is used for the preservation of the dead in the mortuary, which is seriously inimical to one’s health.

Women have accounted that they have been reduced to selling sex on the street — all because of “Kush.” This trend of events must be worrisome for the future of this nation.

According to health experts in the country’s psychiatric facility in Freetown, nearly 90% of the male admissions to the facility is related to the intake of “Kush” .

Furthermore, there are no apparent reasons for the much consumption of “Kush” by our youths, though others say “Kush” aids them to forget their worries, and also makes them feel high which brings about hallucinations and a steady flow of ecstasy. One thing that is clear is that “Kush” makes our youth lazy, weak, and unproductive. Most “Kush” smokers are presumed to be agents of committing crimes which also lead to a complete breakdown of law and order in society.

The attention of the National Drug Control Agency is hereby called upon as a matter of urgency. The Agency together with the Sierra Leone Police should institute a Surprise Raid Strategy/System to curb drug peddlers. This should be done with great fierceness and heavy handedness. In addition, there should be a conscious, deliberate, and sustained efforts at educating the public about drug prevention and control. The Government of Sierra Leone through its Ministry of Health and Sanitation should declare a “SAY NO TO “KUSH” campaign as a national emergency. The public needs to understand that they should support the relevant authorities to curb “Kush” by reporting suspecting “Kush” peddlers to the police. “Kush” smokers found on the streets should face the full penalty of the law as a form of punitive measure.