Kush, Sierra Leone, West Africa, drugs

National Emergency Issued In Sierra Leone Over Kush, A Drug Reportedly Made From Human Bones

The President of Sierra Leone declared a national emergency over the drug abuse of substance Kush, which is made from human bones.

West African country Sierra Leone declared a national emergency for the rising use of the drug kush. The substance not only causes severe addiction but also includes human bones in its ingredients.

Kush in Sierra Leone should not be mistaken for the similarly named drug in the U.S., The Conversation reports. Unlike the U.S. version, which consists of a blend of various chemicals sprayed on plant material for smoking, Sierra Leone’s Kush, which users smoke, is distinct. It comprises cannabis, fentanyl, tramadol, formaldehyde, and reportedly, ground human bones, according to some sources. It has been suggested that the sulfur content in the bones contributes to the sensation of being high.

The drug exists as a psychoactive substance that is highly addictive, according to BBC News. Of its most sinister element is human bones, and cemeteries have heightened security measures to keep out grave robbers.

The increased abuse of the drug within Sierra Leone has forced President Julius Maada Bio to consider the issue a crisis. Expressly, he referred to kush as a “death trap.”

“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,” expressed President Bio in a nationwide broadcast on April 4.

Kush, primarily used by males between the ages of 18 and 25, induces episodes of sleepwalking.

As Kush takes its toll on Sierra Leone, more users are dying from organ failure within the nation’s hospitals. Additionally, its intake has contributed to more hospitalizations for mental health treatment. The country only has one psychiatric hospital, which stated that patient numbers increased by almost 4,000% from 2020 to 2023.

To de-escalate the emergency, the president has ordered the establishment of a National Task Force on Drugs and Substance Abuse. Every district in the country will have a center “adequately staffed by trained professionals” to help those struggling with drug addiction.

However, some Sierra Leone citizens have expressed doubt that the current strategy will lead to results. Critics of the president believe his administration does not have the resources or ambition to truly combat the issue.

“There is a lot the authorities must do beyond the president’s address last night to combat this scourge,” expressed Marie, a Sierra Leonean mother whose son died from using the drug.

However, Dr. Abdul Jalloh, the head of the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital, believes that the recognition is still beneficial.

“It signifies the prioritization of resources, attention, and intervention to combat this growing epidemic,” stated Dr. Jalloh.

Presently, the only drug rehabilitation center in Sierra Leone lies in its capital city of Freetown. While the 100-bed facility continues to aid struggling users, those in other areas await more to open.

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