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Sierra Leone declares emergency over drug kush – made from human bones

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Sierra Leone declares emergency over drug kush – made from human bones

(BBC)Sierra Leone’s president has declared a national emergency over rampant drug abuse.

Kush, a psychoactive blend of addictive substances, has been prevalent in the country for years.

President Julius Maada Bio called the drug a “death trap” and said it posed an “existential crisis”.

One of the drug’s many ingredients is human bones – security has been tightened in cemeteries to stop addicts digging up skeletons from graves.

Groups of mostly young men sitting on street corners with limbs swollen by kush abuse is a common sight in Sierra Leone.

With a bandage around his ankle, one recovering addict told the BBC the drug has a tight grip on him.

“I don’t like doing this, but I cannot leave it because I enjoy it,” he said.

There is no official death toll, but one doctor told the BBC that “in recent months” hundreds of young men had died from organ failure caused by kush in the capital, Freetown.

The psychoactive substance also takes a toll on mental health – the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital, the country’s only institution of its kind, says between 2020 and 2023, admissions linked to kush surged by almost 4,000% to reach 1,865.

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