As the world has been transfixed by the opioid crisis in North America, another crisis, just as serious, has been unfolding almost unreported across Africa.
The addictive prescription painkiller Tramadol has exploded in popularity, used by everyone from workers trying to cope with long hours and grueling labor, to university students looking to have a good time. It’s even the drug of choice for members of Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, fueling their violence.
Now, governments are threatening to crack down, using the same War on Drugs methods of repression that have failed everywhere else. And meanwhile, as counterfeit pills flood the continent, new research is questioning whether people are even taking real Tramadol at all.
In The War On Drugs, we examine the social implications of prohibition worldwide. Any attempt to shut down the trade in drugs such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine or weed invariably sets off a chain of events that just makes things worse, leaving a trail of death, illness, violence, slavery, addiction, crime and inequality across the globe. Everyone loses – except, in a weird kind of way, the drugs themselves.
Watch more from this series:
This Is How We Legalize Weed
Cartels Are Trafficking Drugs Through West Africa
Turning 12-Year-Olds Into Drug Dealers
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