Sierra Leone has recently plunged into a state of national emergency due to the proliferation of a dangerous psychoactive drug known as kush, derived from human bones. The alarming surge in kush abuse has prompted law enforcement officers to safeguard cemeteries in Freetown, the capital, in order to prevent young individuals from exhuming skeletons to consume the drug.

Kush, a concoction comprising various substances such as toxic chemicals, herbs, cannabis, and disinfectant, contains ground-up human bone as one of its primary components. This macabre ingredient allegedly enhances the drug’s effects due to the presence of sulfur traces. President Bio of Sierra Leone, in a nationwide address, underscored the existential threat posed by drug and substance abuse, particularly the devastating impact of synthetic drugs like kush.

Despite the absence of an official death toll associated with kush abuse, reports from healthcare professionals paint a grim picture. Dr. Abdul Jalloh, a doctor from Freetown, lamented the deaths of hundreds of young men from organ failure attributed to the drug. The Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital has witnessed a staggering 4000% increase in admissions linked to kush-related illnesses between 2020 and 2023, predominantly affecting young men aged 18-25.

The emergence of kush in Sierra Leone approximately six years ago has introduced a long-lasting, hypnotic high, detaching users from reality for extended periods. The drug’s affordability, priced at a mere 20p per joint, belies its destructive potential. Many individuals reportedly spend up to £8 daily on kush, a substantial sum considering the country’s average annual income stands at just £400.

In response to this escalating crisis, President Bio has established a National Task Force on Drugs and Substance Abuse. This initiative aims to establish adequately staffed centers across every district to provide care and support to individuals grappling with drug addiction. Currently, Sierra Leone has only one drug rehabilitation treatment center in Freetown, inaugurated earlier this year, with a capacity of just 100 beds.

Law enforcement agencies have been instructed to dismantle the drug supply chain through comprehensive investigations, arrests, and prosecutions. Dr. Abdul Jalloh hailed President Bio’s emergency declaration as a pivotal step in combating drug use, emphasizing the urgent need for intervention and resource allocation.

Abu Bakhar, a 25-year-old victim of kush addiction, lamented the derailment of his aspirations, attributing his descent into drug-induced oblivion to the demise of his music career. The drug’s debilitating effects have rendered him and many others homeless, residing amidst squalor on the outskirts of Freetown.

Witnesses have described kush as a demonic substance that transports users to an alternate reality, causing widespread death and devastation. Moreover, the drug’s proliferation is not confined to Sierra Leone alone, with reports indicating its spread across West Africa. Dr. Edward Nahim, a consultant psychiatrist, underscored the role of economic hardships exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in driving youth towards drug addiction.

In conclusion, Sierra Leone’s declaration of a national emergency reflects the gravity of the kush epidemic gripping the nation. Urgent and concerted efforts are required to address this crisis comprehensively, encompassing healthcare interventions, law enforcement measures, and socioeconomic initiatives aimed at tackling the root causes of drug abuse.