Street drugs in Burkina Faso, a poison on the street

Ventolin, anti-inflammatories, antimalarials, antibiotics, and other antiparasitics, are as many products found in pharmacies in Burkina as in the street, outside the legal marketing system. They are then called street drugs. The consumption of these illegal drugs causes enormous health issues. These products are illegal because manufacturing, import, storage and sale do not meet any standard. In regard of the manufacturing, the origin of these products, production conditions and their composition are mostly unknown or do not meet quality standards. As for the importation, it is done fraudulently. The products usually enter the Burkinabe market through carriers (goods, firewood). Once on the Burkinabe market, these products are kept in conditions that leave a lot to be desired. They are sold in the street on stalls exposed to dust, sun, rain, etc.

These difficulties put the consumers of these drugs to multiple health and death risks. Either the product sold has reached the expiry date, or it is not intended to cure the consumer pain. What a disaster: cerebrovascular accidents, kidney failure, high blood pressure, poisoning of all kinds. According to the WHO, 200 000 people die every year, following only the consumption of the non-compliant antimalarials. “Precarious health coverage, expensive drugs and medical benefits, poverty, ignorance”, sellers and consumers of these products always have an excuse to justify their behaviour.

The authority certainly struggles to combat this phenomenon that is causing victims daily. It is deplorable to know that these illegal traders are plying the arteries of the capital Ouagadougou, with the aim of casting their net wide while the government remains impassive to this state of affairs. It is important to investigate the traceability of these products. The State will have to investigate the traceability of these products. Firm measures must also be taken to put the spotlight on the illicit traders of these products. These actions should be crowned by the inclusion in the penal code of new provisions capable of incriminating the traffic of these drugs.

Mandela Washington Fellow, for Young African Leaders — Civic engagement — Development Cooperation, Economist, Project Management skills, Free learner

Mandela Washington Fellow, for Young African Leaders — Civic engagement — Development Cooperation, Economist, Project Management skills, Free learner