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The dark face of Tramadol Abuse & Addiction

Shooting Up

It depicts the resignation to the grave of hopes, dreams, ambitions, passions, talents, untapped potentials and resources, leadership and innovations to mention a few, all because of an ‘abuse’, abusing the wrong thing, Tramadol.

Tramadol does many things to your body

Tramadol, a synthetic opioid analgesic prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, is considered a safer alternative to other narcotic analgesics like hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab) and methadone.


Additional medications containing tramadol include Ultram ER, an extended release formulation for round-the-clock pain relief, and Ultracet, a combination of tramadol and acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Tramadol is also known as a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant which dulls or eliminates the sensation of pain signaled to the brain. This is the light face, the face that brings relief and makes one feels there was never pain.   

Good as the pharmacodynamic effect of this drug may be, the “Dark Face” when it’s abused can be heart rending, tears dropping, relationship breaking, home shaking, and hopes dashing. 
Young drug addict with capsule

Watching a friend, son of a wonderful mentor or teacher, family member abuse drugs can be very upsetting to say the least, more so losing a fellow youth to the cold hands of death. My heart bleeds for the young men wasting purpose and ambitions on the pangs of Tramadol.


The title, “Dark Face” portrays the gloominess on the faces of parents and relations when you announce to them that the ‘feel good’ Tramadol is the cause of the closish death of  their wards.
It depicts the resignation to the grave of hopes, dreams, ambitions, passions, talents, untapped potentials and resources, leadership and innovations to mention a few, all because of an ‘abuse’, abusing the wrong thing, Tramadol.

The Dark Face illustrates the form of helplessness felt by the abusers of tramadol as relations, parents, and friends who though weeping for their misfortune, blame them for the consequences of their choices which ultimately could be death. 

This ugliness respects nobody and affects the rich and poor alike, the elites and non-elites, the proud and humble, the high and low, the armed and unarmed, as well as children and adults.
This publication is borne out of the loss of two young vibrant lives, who presented to me within a four (4) week period, to Tramadol. 

First case was that of a 12 year old primary school pupil, the  son of an officer in the Nigeria Police Force, who knew how to inject the Tramadol parenterally through his veins. This is quite indicting on the professional stand of the parent and to think that the son of an officer would have had the prerogative to do so is quite disturbing. 

I have also seen the son of a Professor in Medicine lose his mind to substance abuse. I can’t forget the cases of senior medical personnel who abuse hard drugs themselves, one that readily comes to mind was that of a medical doctor in the level of a Senior Registrar who almost lost both lower limbs to substance abuse.

These instances no doubt may serve as eye opening and head bowing facts to parents who would have thought that a subset of the population are immune to this occurrence.

The second case that presented to me was that of a 17-year-old male, who fell in the bathroom after having a good dose of Ultram and became unconscious probably secondary to some intracranial bleeds. 

His parents kept him at home not knowing the cause of the sudden fall, hoping he would get better until his condition started to worsen. 

We later gathered that though he had not advanced as in the first case but he used soft drinks for the solvent base of the opiate. 

On that fateful day he had dissolved at least ten (10) capsules in a soft drink and drunk the solution. I subsequently had some discussions with several people in a quest of fact finding and found that this latter method is popular than the former however.

He was the son of one of the rich.
By: Dr Hope A. Omeiza 
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