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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NDLEA cautions against new dangerous drug blend called ‘Combine’

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Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has alerted the public to an illicit mixture of hard drugs called ‘combine’ discovered during a routine raid in Cross River State.

The mixture, a New Psychoactive Substance (NPS), which contains multiple strains of Cannabis Colorado, Loud and Opioids soaked in raw gin, is produced by a 40-year-old widow and mother of two, Theodora Ita, in Bassey Edom, Calabar, according to the agency.

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NDLEA, in a statement issued on Sunday and signed by its spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, described “combine” as a careless mash-up of deadly substances.

He advised Nigerians against its consumption, saying it is likely to cause irreparable damage to the body.

About “Combine”

“Combine is a mixture of strains of Cana: Colos, Loud and opioids soaked in raw gin,” the NDLEA said, warning, “There’s no shorter route to death than this because it’s a direct hit on your organs. The look alone tells of danger. Beware.”

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The agency said 18 litres of ‘combine’ stored in old paint drums and ready for distribution was recovered from Ms Theodora during the operation.

The suspected culprit was said to have told NDLEA that she began the illicit drug production in October 2023.

“Theodora Ita was arrested at Bassey Edom, Calabar, by NDLEA operatives for producing and selling a lethal new psychoactive substance, NPS, locally called ‘Combine’.

“As at the time of her arrest, 18 litres of the dangerous substance in used paint drums were recovered from her,” the statement reads in part.

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Local production of hard drugs

New, unconventional drugs created to mimic the effects of traditional substances such as cannabis, cocaine, and ecstasy have gained popularity in Nigeria, driving up the population of drug users in the country.

Most are locally sourced and can be obtained at a meagre cost. They impact the brain, causing mood, feeling, and behaviour changes.

These drugs are labelled NPS because they are not recognised under international conventions such as the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and, unlike traditional hard drugs, are emerging and uneasy to detect because they are not controlled.

Drug abuse to rise

Often, an increase in the local production of drugs correlates with high substance abuse, and as such, Nigeria’s population of drug users is expected to rise.

It is predicted that by 2030, 40 per cent of the country’s population will be drug users, far exceeding the global target of 11 per cent.

According to joint research by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA), about 14.3 million Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 years engaged in drug use.

At the geopolitical zonal level, the South-west has the highest number, with about 4.382 million users. This is 22.4 per cent of Nigeria’s total 14.3 million users. The North-west follows closely with 3 million drug users, and the South-south, where ‘Combine’ is said to have been discovered, ranks third with 2.124 million users.

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