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A great relieve it is when prescribed to those with severe and acute pains but comes with great risk of addiction. Tramadol is its generic name and was first released in 1995 under the brand name ULTRAM. It is classified as opiate narcotic analgesic drug prescribed for severe pain relief in adults only. It is casually called ‘TM‘ or ‘TML’ and is obtainable in tablets and injectable dosage forms with an opioid-like effect which explains its addictive effect on its users.
Today, at least 7 in every 10 Nigerian Youths have heard of this drug. 4 out of these 7 are aware of its therapeutic effects while the other 3 classify it as a drug for ‘getting high’ or as an aphrodisiac. The level of ignorance about and consumption of Tramadol is increasing at an alarming rate. Agencies notably the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have put in place some measures to curb the abuse of this drug and to penalize those illegally found with it.
Why Tramadol is Abused
The future of Nigerian youths and their health is of primary concern. Tramadol is used among Nigerian youths for purposes other than its pharmaceutical use. Reasons for these are not limited to the following ;
1. Unlike other drugs abused, it is cheap and readily available.
2. It has an analgesic effect against pain stimuli
3. It increases alertness
4. Its anti-depressant effect
5. It gives its users a feeling of euphoria
Opinion Survey on TM
On taking random sample opinions from locals in a certain community, one said, ‘that drug hard o (smiles).I dey sleep well, chop well and perform well when I take am‘.
Another said, ‘Tramadol…I use it as sedative. To me I think it’s more of a sedative because I use it when I really wanna force my self to sleep but some people do tell me it energizes them and gives them more strength to work. Some people said it helps them last long in bed. I think it also has its bad side cos I remember last time I took it I felt so uneasy. It was as if I was gonna go crazy but I later fell asleep. From my experience I think an overdose of it can actually make one run mad”.
Long term Dangers/ Side effects
Many are ignorant of its long term dangerous effects on health which include :
1. Addiction which is associated with several antisocial behaviour and is dose-related.
2. Respiratory distress
3. Increase risk of having seizures
4. Persistent depression
5. Mental illness
6. Increased blood pressure
8.Increased heart rate(Tachycardia)
9. Memory loss(Amnesia)
10.Abdominal or stomach pain
There are many acceptable ways to get out of depression for which addiction to Tramadol is definitely not one. Tell a friend to tell a friend. Assist in ending the abuse of this drug and keep the health status and future of the Nigerian youth.