A locally produced Liberian beverage, Palm Wine, is being mixed with Tramadol, and sold to the public, including school children at the Gobachop Market in Paynesville, suburb of Monrovia.Tramadol is an oral medication that is usually administered in hospitals to help relieve severe pain in patients. When taken without Doctor’s prescription, it causes serious side effects, including constipation, nausea, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, and vomiting, among others.
During a visit to the palm wine station, this reporter observed dealers of the product has two types, one mixed with Tramadol, while the other is freed of mixture.Dozens of kids, including students from some of the junior and senior high schools in the area are regular customers of palm wine mixed with Tramadol.
One liter of the drink is sold for 250 Liberian Dollars, while a small bottle costs 125 Liberian Dollars, respectively.Meanwhile, a pharmacist, Boima Jallah, who operates a drug store in the Gobachop area, explains that whenever consumers take in the local wine and get intoxicated, they misbehaved by spewing invectives and engaging in fistfight, sometimes using knives.
Jallah narrates criminals drink the substance and attack business people leaving their various market places under the cover of darkness, forcing them to surrender personal valuables or risk being stabbed with knife.
He called on government to deploy security forces at the center the Ministry of Health to vigorously launch a campaign aimed at riding the substance from the market to save lives.He notes that some drug stores owners are allegedly selling the drug to dealers of the drink, which violates regulations of the Pharmacy Board of Liberia.
Criminals commonly referred to here as “Zokos”, spend time mixing the medication with marijuana and other substances to take.Tramadol is available under the following different brand names: Ultram, Ultram ER, Ryzolt and ConZip.
By Emmanuel Mondaye –Editing by Jonathan Browne