Editorial

Codeine abuse has schoolkids by the throat

28 July 2019 - 00:00 By sunday times

The growing scourge of codeine abuse by South African school pupils is creating a generation of zoned-out deadbeats who spend their days getting high. The obvious and inevitable result of this is a spike in truancy and a nose-dive in academic results. Experts say the seemingly innocuous over-the-counter medicine creates a feeling of euphoria similar to heroin. Pupils mix it with cold drink and blatantly swig it out of two-litre bottles at school, in front of unsuspecting staff.

This week the Sunday Times reports that principals, student bodies, rehabs and pharmaceutical experts are all sounding the alarm that a codeine cough syrup crisis is looming. It seems almost ludicrous that a legitimate medicine freely available at pharmacies has been allowed to be so widely abused. How hard can it be to monitor and regulate sales? Yet the government has merely shrugged its shoulders - as it so often does - at the situation. Clearly the issue is not high on its list of priorities, considering the harder drugs out there such as heroin, cocaine and mandrax...

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