Kush might annihilate Sierra Leone’s youthful population

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The addict in front displays his swollen foot, while other addicts roll joints

By Ishmael Dumbuya

At around 8:25 am, Tuesday 26th March 2024, this medium went to the Hastings Community, Western Area Rural, were youths crammed into a shack shrouded in Kush smoke.

According to sources, Hastings is one the hubs where Kush is processed and mixed with highly addictive and deadly ingredients.

Kush is a mysterious new zombie drug that’s ravaging Sierra Leone – an epidemic described as the worst in the region. And amid fears, the crisis could destroy the youthful population – a shocking new twist: the use of ground-up human bones as one of the drug’s ingredients

At Back Street, Hastings, there were scenes of young men standing and nodding, whereas their feet have swollen as if there was an emergence of Elephantiasis in the country, causing people to fall asleep while walking, fall over, bang their heads against hard surfaces and walk into moving traffic.

Kush costs around five Leones per joint, which may be used by two or three people, with up to 40 joints being consumed in a day. This represents a massive spend on drugs and illustrates the addictive nature of the mixture, in a country where the annual income per capita is very minimal. The sachet costs 150 Leones, whereas the ounce is around 4 to 5 thousand New Leones.

‘Blake’, a dealer who refused to state his real name, explained to this medium that Kush is a mixture of fentanyl, tramadol, formaldehyde and now ground down human bones.

According to ‘Blake,’ he went into Kush dealing because he couldn’t secure a job and has many dependants. He however underscored that the drug is wreaking havoc in the country and killing dozens every week and many hospitalised.

“If this menace continues in the next years, there will be less agile youths left in the country, and the country will graduate to a narco state,” he stated.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency indicated that the drug is an amalgamation of the various chemicals and plants that mimic the natural (cannabinoid) THC found in cannabis.

One of the ingredients of drug is fentanyl. Fentanyl is thought to originate in clandestine laboratories in China where the drug is manufactured illegally and shipped to West Africa. Tramadol has a similar source, across Asia. Formaldehyde, which can cause hallucinations, is also reported in this mixture.

Responding to the ground human bones used, there was no definitive answer given, as to whether or not they occur in the drug, where such bones would come from, or why they might be incorporated into the drug. However, some Kush addicts present noted that grave robbers provide the bones.

On Saturday 23rd September 2023, the Sierra Leone Police arrested Abdul Kamara, aka Biggie Ten, the owner of one of the biggest cartels in the city with a large amount of Kush and other dangerous drugs. According to sources, Biggie Ten is said to be one of the key chemists in the mixture of the Kush, and sells it in large quantities to other dealers in the city.

According to the Inspector General of Police, Fayia Sellu, the Sierra Leone Police is working tirelessly to curb the use of dangerous drugs which is killing and destroying youths in the country, adding that whoever is caught will face the full force of the law.

However, for many people, that is not the case, as people accuse the government of involvement in the trade, and using selective justice to hunt Kush barons in the country. With some even pointing fingers at the sister of President Bio, Admire Bio, as being the key importer of the drug. Allegations she denies.

According to expert, the Sulphur content of the bones causes toxicity. Another reason might be the drug content of the bones themselves, if the deceased was a fentanyl or tramadol user. However, both are unlikely. Sulphur levels in bones are not high. Smoking Sulphur would result in highly toxic Sulphur dioxide being produced and inhaled.

In the Waterloo Community, this medium interviewed addicts, and dealers at Tombo Junction where drivers have now resorted to the drug intake and have abandoned their profession.

Christian Smith, a professional driver, who has now abandoned his driving and have delved into Kush intake, explained that he never intended to smoke the drug.

 He said his friends lured him into smoking the drug and since then everything around his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being has drastically changed. With tears rolling down his cheek, Christian said his wife and children have now deserted him and wished him dead.

Karim Turay aka Razor sells Kush  in Waterloo. He told this medium that he went into the Kush  business because he couldn’t afford tuition fees so he ventured into the trade not knowing that it will have a dire effect later. He said he now wants to quit the trade but he is so addicted that he is unable. He raised his hands in the air and Prayed that God takes his mind off this disease.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry Of Health and Sanitation buried 32 people who died as a result of kush smoking, and were buried in a mass grave in Freetown. These deaths sent fear in the minds of many addicts; however, the addictive part of the drug got them hooked up once again, which is a clear manifestation that the ingredients used are highly addictive and fatal. The addiction is so strong that if an addict does not have money to purchase a joint, he or she will do everything demeaning to raise 5 Leones, such as the collection of garbage, cleaning of gutters, laundering for people, fetching water and to an extent theft.

The danger of the drug is twofold: the risk of self-injury to the drug taker and the highly addictive nature of the drug itself.

Research conducted by the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), described Kush as a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol mixture of plant material sprayed with synthetic psychoactive chemicals similar to the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana/weed.

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