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Kush: The Zombie State-like High Of Sierra Leone That Is Taking Over

On the southeast coast of West Africa lies Sierra Leone, with its people grappling with a new drug called Kush. Over 1000 graves have been desecrated for human bones, the latest key ingredient for the drug, to unlock a new troubling level of high. 

This Sierra Leone Kush drug is said to be turning people into zombies, as they stand shoulder slouched, head cocked to the side, and shuffle aimlessly in circles when they gather in mass, passing this joint between themselves as they take long drags, slowly breathe it out and bask in the embrace of the euphoria it comes with. 

While the locals say kush is a cocktail of dried leaves, chemicals, and dug-up human bones made into powder and rolled, experts have described kush as a synthetic cannabinoid drug capable of inducing a long-lasting hypnotic high that can detach users from reality for hours, causing as much danger as heroin and cocaine. 

When interviewed by Channel4 News, Dr Jusu Mattia, a doctor in a Sierra Leone Psychiatric hospital, described the recipe of the drug as “an ever-changing phenomenon.”

“One time, you will hear they’ve added formalin, and before you know it, they have added something else. But the recent substance that has been added is human bone”.

Explaining the constituent of human bone and why it is a choice for the users, Jusu said: “Human bone contains a lot of sulphur, and sulphur has the potential of giving you that feeling of high, especially when taken at high concentration and when inhaled because it goes directly to the brain.”

This new drug has swept through Sierra Leone and ravaged the country’s capital. For many, getting high off this drug containing ground-down human bone has become a thing of addiction with no foresight to quit as it becomes a fast-spreading epidemic with nearly 2,000 addicts recorded in 2023—a fast-paced increase from the meagre 47 recorded in 2020.

As graves in Sierra Leone are no longer safe, and “friends of the dead” try to protect them from rummaging addicts, so is the mental health of the youths in Sierra Leone. 

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