Daily Trust

Our mystery travail (II)

Continued from last week


‘You always want to blame everything on husbands. But out there, in hospital wards, are unmarried female drug addicts. Can you tell me what roles husbands played in their case?’ He demanded. 


‘You are right Tahir. That’s really the big mystery. Why are our young women into drug addiction as well? Unless they are just copying their mothers or maybe are equally frustrated, it doesn’t make sense. I mean you do remember that whatsapp video we saw which showed two young, Northern women, wearing the hijab yet making some funny faces and licentious sounds, while announcing that they wanted to get married and were desperately looking for husbands. 


You know that we ourselves concluded that the only way they could be that shameless was because they weren’t in their complete senses. We deduced that they had to be on drugs to be so brazen in their demands for life partners.’ I replied, walking into the sitting room ahead of Asabe.

‘And their case is much more than just a search for husbands, it’s a desperate cry for help because their entire future is bleak unless a suitor is on the horizon.’ Asabe chipped in. ‘I mean they are young women who have attained puberty but with no educational pursuits to engage their minds, or some craft that could bring them and their families much needed income, they just roam the streets aimlessly, wishing an admirer would come to their rescue by proposing marriage. Others seek succour in Kannywood. And in their desperation to join the local film industry and become actresses, they are said to be willing to do anything to please producers and directors. But when all this fails, no husband, no movie roles, they just turn to their beloved codeine. At least it will give them respite and enable them get their sound sleep. Until the day of reckoning, that is, when their mental capacities will be compromised. How sad.’ She concluded.

‘Yes it’s truly sad, Asabe.’ Tahir said, walking over to sit in the chair opposite us. ‘But both you and Bint seem to share this mistaken belief that only women from poor families are into drug addiction. Yet you are very wrong. The other day I ran into a young man, the younger brother to a friend. I casually asked about his wife because I was at his wedding less than two years ago. He immediately looked sad and said to me that she was back home with her parents. I asked why and he said he recently discovered that a certain small gallon of liquid she always kept in their bedroom fridge was cough syrup. Apparently she had been addicted long before their marriage. But not wishing to make him suspicious she arranged with her supplier, the owner of a pharmacy near her parent’s home, to be filling that small gallon with several bottles of cough syrup and be delivering at her husband’s home every fortnight. Of course the delivery was always done in the morning, on week days, when she knew that Saminu would be at work. During their first year of marriage, he had noticed how she tended to oversleep during the day, but he blamed that on her pregnancy, because he didn’t suspect anything else. Nothing changed after their baby was born and by now she had begun to display other symptoms of a medical problem. Since he didn’t know what it was, he kept urging her to go to the hospital but she refused. One day he walked into the room and saw her pouring that liquid from the small gallon into a glass cup. She was doing it with such haste she never even saw him and after she took it he noticed how her hands were shaking while she was putting it back in the fridge. Saminu told me that he pretended not to have seen anything and later checked the gallon himself. By the time he found out what it was, he realised that she had been taking it since she came into his house, because she always had that small gallon which she referred to as ‘tsimi’ (a local beverage) in their fridge. 

Now this was a girl who was a silver spoon by all standards. She was born into affluence and she married into affluence. Yet she is hooked on drugs. 

Saminu confronted her, and in her drugged state she confessed every thing including the name of her supplier. She also told him that she started right from her days at the university. Totally devastated, he had to call her parents and say that they needed to put her in rehab before she harms her little child. The parents agreed, insisted that they had no idea she had the problem and promised to take care of her treatment. So you see, rich people are also into this affliction. And I’ve heard it said that it’s not only the young ones that are in trouble, even their mothers are sometimes into this. So there is really no rich man, poor man dichotomy when it comes drugs abuse.’ Tahir observed.

‘And the mystery deepens. I mean, If the ordinary problems of poverty, marital disharmony, a bleak future with no bright prospects can explain this cough syrup addiction among poor folks what can we say is the reason for it among rich folks? They are obviously not seeking escape from life’s day to day struggles like poor folks are, so what could be their reason?’ I asked. 

‘I think this is a challenge for our university dons and the medical establishment to rise to. They should liaise together and embark on researches to find out why our women have taken to drugs in order live their daily existence. While the doctors should provide the patients, the dons should interview them and find out what pushes them to such destructive behaviour. It is the only way we can unravel our mystery travail. The prayers you solicited in the mosque will be of great help but we also need to know the causes in order to arrest the problem from it’s root.’  Asabe suggested.

‘Yes, now you are talking. I hope you channel your suggestions to the right quarters for maximum effect. Let me know if you need help to push the idea.’ Tahir offered, rising from the chair to leave the sitting room.