Feel good drugs flood Zimbabwe
By Gugulethu Nyazema, Senior Writer
Drug peddlers in Zimbabwe are making a living by selling popular drugs in the high density suburbs of Harare and their trade has attracted prominent people. Histalix and Bron cleer cough syrups are among the most popular “feel good drugs.”
These cough mixtures are being sold on the parallel market after being legally purchased over the counter and being smuggled into Zimbabwe from South Africa by drug peddlers. Susan, a drug peddler and resident in one of the high density suburbs told the Daily News on Sunday that the selling of these recreational drugs is boosting her income.
“I bought my car with the profit I made from selling Histalix and Bron cleer. I was introduced to this drug by my brother who is now late. I sell an average of ten bottles a day at $8 each for Histalix. The Bron cleer is cheap because of its purchase price. It costs $3 dollars a bottle.
For Histalix one needs a prescription to buy the cough mixture but my contacts can easily supply me the cough mixture without a prescription,’’ said the 32-year-old Susan. Buoyed by the high returns that she is getting from trading the cough syrup, Susan now makes the trip to South Africa to get her own supplies. This plan seems to be working.
As the Daily News on Sunday was carrying this interview several people including law enforcement agents and members of a certain religious sect could be seen walking away with bottles of the coveted syrup.
A man identified as ‘‘Mpostori’’ came into Susan’s house halfway through our interview. He said he wanted the syrup because his entire family was suffering from a cough.
“Kanjani asikana, tipewo zviya zviya, mhuri kumba uko dzaakutofa ne chikosoro (hello young lady, please can I have that stuff. The whole family is sick with a terrible cough),” Mpostori said in a joking manner as he handed Susan her cash.
Everything goes at Susan’s house. Moments after Mpositori left some police officers walked in and asked for seats at the back of the house so that they could smoke weed and share a bottle of Histalix.
“This is the kind of stuff you need after chasing criminals all day,” said one of the officers in a joking manner while taking in a gulp of the “feel good drug” and smokes a pipe of weed which briefly makes him cough before handing it over to his colleague.
Another one of Susan’s customers known as Pablo said that he had been taking Histalix for several years now and is considering becoming a drug peddler to help sustain himself and his family.
“I have not had decent employment for almost three years and I need to feed my family. I am still doing small jobs to raise capital for this business venture,” said the 30-year-old, father of two.
“I take these cough mixtures because it is the easy ticket to a hassle free world. When you have a lot on your mind the hallucinations can scare you but I’m used to it now. That’s why sometime when I am high from this stuff, I hallucinate, I laugh at myself,” he said.
A local health expert said that if used correctly these cough syrup relieve the effects of allergies, but if abused they are potentially addictive and have devastating side effects.
“The side effects that are experienced are lack of co-ordination, mental confusion, visual hallucinations, blurred vision, dry mouth, urinary hesitancy and thickening of secretion. Other side effects are constipation, dizziness and hyperactivity,” said the health expert.
“These cough mixtures can cause drowsiness which can accelerate through the intake of alcohol. It can cause depression of the central nervous system which can progress to a coma.”
The expert added that the popular cough syrups have codeine in them. And when codeine is absorbed by the body it converts into morphine which in itself is a mild painkiller.
According to the health expert the codeine blocks the transmission of pain signals sent by the nerves to the brain. Therefore, even though the cause of the pain may remain, less pain is actually felt.
“When there is no pain in body this impersonation of the action of endorphins without pain being experienced can cause lack of co-ordination, mental confusion, visual hallucinations, blurred vision, hyperactivity and dizziness.
The worst case scenario for those that take these recreational drugs is that they can become mentality disturbed.” In Zimbabwe’s high density areas, hard drugs and mixtures like Histalix have taken centre stage.
All one sees, is youngsters beating away the bitterness of the strong mixtures by continuously eating lolly pop sweets. Daily News