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Cough syrup abuse rife in KZN

South African adolescents are increasingly looking for and experimenting with inexpensive drugs, including over-the-counter cough mixture.

Evidence of this was the recent discovery of thousands of empty cough syrup bottles in hangouts frequented by drug users and criminals in the town of Verulam, on KZN’s North Coast, reports TimesLIVE.

A study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council, University of KwaZulu-Natal and SA Medical Research Council among 144 pupils in two townships in SA found growing numbers of youngsters are trying new “craze” drugs, including cheap and easily available over-the-counter-cough medications (OTCCM).

The Verulam find was made by private security company Reaction Unit SA (Rusa) while on routine operations in the central business district and surrounding areas of the town.

“All of these areas are frequently used by drug addicts and suspects sought for crime in the CBD,” said Prem Balram of Rusa.

According to the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority, codeine-containing cough syrups are regulated in terms of schedules 2 and 3 of the Medicines Act.

Unless prescribed by an authorised prescriber, they can be sold only by a registered pharmacist, or a post-basic pharmacist’s assistant under the supervision of a pharmacist.


TimesLIVE article – Thousands of empty cough syrup bottles suggest abuse is rife in KZN (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Nigeria legislates to ban codeine in cough syrup


Addiction epidemic sees Nigeria ban cough syrups containing codeine


SA under-prepared for rising codeine addiction




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