Growing Concerns Over Proliferation of Fake Plant-Based Alcoholic Beverages

New concerns are mounting over the number of strange illnesses in recent times, developments that NAFDAC has attributed to harmful alcoholic beverages illegally produced and sold in many parts of the country. ELEOJO IDACHABA reports that the developments are affecting the young adult population.

Some call them energy drinks; others call them superpowers. Some of the many names given to these many brands of plant-based alcoholic beverages are currently on sale across the country.

More worrying is the fact that these drinks contain toxic substances that can affect the health of consumers. This reporter’s investigation found that among those who largely use these substances are young men between the ages of 16 and 30, many of whom have been diagnosed with varying degrees of mental dysfunction and alertness disorders.

NAFDAC warnings

It was as a result of this that recently the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) issued a warning on its website to inform Nigerians of an adulterated/fake beverage currently in circulation throughout the country.

The alcoholic bitter herb known as Japata Alcoholic Bitters, according to NAFDAC, is more harmful than what the company that produces it originally submitted for testing and registration with the agency. NAFDAC has therefore advised Nigerians to be careful about the herbal alcoholic beverages they consume.

This is a big concern for many people as this is the second time in four months that this concern about Japata has been raised.

NAFDAC said: “A bitter alcoholic product of great concern is Japata Alcoholic Bitters which has been duly registered by NAFDAC but mixed with marijuana or cannabis compared to the registered product which only contained ethanol. Thanks to the intelligence, NAFDAC was able to shut down the company. This product, tested in the laboratory, caused the death of mice in five minutes.

“The alcohol content has been doubled compared to the approved product. The retained samples, kept at the check-in point, did not cause any injury to the animals.

“The cannabis-containing product was said to cause an altered state of mind and psychological problems in the user. The owner of the company is on the run and the case has been shared with the NDLEA.

Other harmful drinks also listed by NAFDAC after their investigation were Five Minutes Power, Gamzaki Tradomedical, Barakallahu, Sabon Karfi and Haonu Laha herbal blends which are also currently on sale in many stores and car parks across the country. Nigeria.

Haonu Laha Herbal Mixture, he noted, is registered with NAFDAC, but contains unapproved substances that are harmful to the human body. The report states that a large number of male populations consume alcoholic bitters as their regular beverages.

While some consumers claim the drinks have health benefits when consumed, the survey shows that there really is no evidence to support these claims.

Additionally, this reporter’s findings showed that in many communities across the country, the effects of adulterated alcoholic beverages, such as these, are evident, particularly on the young adult population. While many young people have died from illnesses such as kidney failure, a large number of men are suffering from liver-related illnesses and other life-threatening illnesses linked to these drinks.

In conversation with this reporter, Mr. Obed Nakajuru, originally from South Kaduna but based in Abuja, said in his community that there has been a severe burnout of young adults due to strange deaths, a development which no one could explain until it was recently discovered that what they called strange diseases resulted from kidney, heart and liver related diseases, all attributable to NAFDAC banned alcoholic beverages.

“These drinks contain higher amounts of ethanol harmful to human health.

Suddenly, many healthy young men started shrinking with developing pot bellies. From 2019 to date, we have buried no less than 30 corpses due to this strange disease until it was discovered that a certain herbal alcoholic drink was responsible. Apart from insurgency and banditry, fake herbal alcoholic beverages are causing the death of young people in Nakajuru and nearby communities,” he said.

The same is true for many communities in Benue and Kogi states; in a rural community called A’Idogodo near Okpoga in Benue state, it’s the same story, according to local resident Peter Enogela who spoke to Blueprint Weekend.

“It’s the go-to drink at my house right now. To make matters worse, they combine it with local gin on an empty stomach. I was shocked when I returned home in early 2022 for a funeral to find that many young men my age I grew up with were suffering from illnesses.When I inquired further I realized that there was a cartel of bogus herbal alcoholic beverages from Enugu State who provided them with drinks.

“A careful examination of these drinks reveals that they are fake, expired and contain substances like marijuana. Almost all young men are already addicted to these drinks. It can only take God to change their taste,” he said. -he declares.

The harbinger of fake drinks

In many car parks across the country, especially in large cities, these drugs are sold on a large scale. A transporter from Jabi Motor Park in Abuja, named Taofeek Araga, told Blueprint Weekend that selling plant-based alcoholic beverages in the park was a major challenge for them.

“Weed sellers are the main problems we have in the parks. When you hear about drugs in the parks, the majority of them are from what these women are selling as energy drinks. There’s no corner you go to in this park where you won’t find these vendors. What is surprising is that they are mostly women. Few men sell them here.

“We realized that some of the accidents that happen on the roads are caused by the influence of these alcoholic beverages. The union is aware of what I am saying because we have expressed this concern to them. Since they are not doing anything about it, the government should step in to save travellers,” he said.

NAFDAC on the offensive

To back up this argument while speaking at another forum recently, NAFDAC Director General Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said: “We have launched a nationwide crackdown on all illegal manufacturers and distributors of these herbal preparations in order to bring perpetrators and minimize the use of the substance.

“The results of various operations carried out have revealed a dangerous tendency for the use of these substances associated with a high concentration of tobacco and sometimes cannabis by our population of all sexes and all age groups, in particular artisans. , drivers and Okada drivers.

“These substances, when abused, can be harmful to organs in the body such as the brain, kidneys, and liver. Damage to the kidneys and liver cannot be overstated. This substance can cause irrational thinking , an altered state of mind, which, if caught by a driver, can lead to a traffic accident with the fatal consequences that follow or can lead to criminal behavior such as rape, kidnapping and murder.

There’s no way to know for sure what ingredients are in fake or illegally produced alcohol, which means drinking it can lead to nausea, blindness, and death. Therefore, drinking fake alcohol is hazardous to health and could lead to dangerous consequences.

About Michael Brafford

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