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Opinions of Friday, 25 June 2010

Columnist: Buachi, Bernard

Ghanaians And The Abuse Of Aphrodisiacs And Other Sex-Enhancing Substances.

More and more Ghanaians seem to be having sexual problems; or that seems to be the impression. What else is one expected to think when one is constantly harassed with a barrage of sexual potency, penile enlargement, vagina tightening drugs and aphrodisiacs.

These days, it is almost impossible to go to market centres and not be harassed with one aphrodisiac or the other. In fact you do not even need to go to a market to experience what I am driving at. Sometimes, you just need to take a walk down the road and ‘voila’ there is someone calling on you to by a sexually related drug of a sort.

According to wordweb an aphrodisiac is a drug or other agent that stimulates sexual desire. While growing up, we were made to believe that aphrodisiacs were used mainly by the old who need that kind of help; I mean sexual help. Surprisingly, the case is the opposite currently. The youth, including teenagers have all jumped onto the bandwagon of aphrodisiac use. And it gets worse. The youth now form the majority of users of sex-related drugs of any sort.
In a recent radio discussion I hosted on Focus(94.3) MHz- the campus radio of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), twenty-eight (28) out of thirty (30) callers on the programme all of who were between the ages of sixteen(16) and thirty (30) admitted having used a form of sex-enhancement drug either once or consistently. Some of these young men and women even described some positives of the use of these drugs.
Should there be major concern? Are there health implications we should be considering? How does an aphrodisiac work?
Dr. Tetteh ojija, of the surgical department of the Tema General Hospital I spoke to lamented on the current abuse of such drugs. He stated that some of these drugs damaged the liver and the kidneys. He stated that aphrodisiacs work on the brain, adding that most of the drugs used as aphrodisiacs are used primarily to ease certain mental conditions, adding that you might develop side effects such as tremors with continuous use. He said not much is documented on these drugs, making them more dangerous to use.
The development of withdrawal symptoms was also highlighted by the medical practitioner. According to him, users tend to realize that the potency of whichever drug they are using decreases over time hence the need to increase the dosage over time. The body develops tolerance to the drug; a situation that leads to dependency on the drug.
The legality of these drugs is another question that comes to mind. Are there some that are accepted by our regulatory bodies in Ghana? What are our regulatory bodies doing to control the proliferation of some of these drugs on the Ghanaian market?
In trying to find out why patronage of sex-enhancement drugs is on the rise, a young man told me, that Ghanaian ladies are increasingly becoming sexually insatiable. He says he fears his girlfriend will leave him if he fails to satisfy her sexually.
Inasmuch as some ladies agreed that sexual satisfaction was key to them in any romantic relationship, they also pointed out that the situation was both ways, adding that men drove them to also use aphrodisiacs and vagina-tightening concoctions. They say the men are just too demanding and expect too much when it comes to sex.
The issue of which of the sexes is more sexually demanding could be left for future debate. But in all these arguments, one cannot help but wonder if this proliferation of sex-enhancement drugs is a result of increasing sexual promiscuity in our society.
Whatever the causes are, it is evident the dangers of the use and abuse of these drugs at present and in future are great and far reaching.
It is high time Ghanaians made a decision to –for the sake of our own future, shun the patronage of these drugs. For people to be in the position of adequate knowledge to make such decisions, extensive public education campaigns will have to be organized. Sex education in our schools definitely becomes a necessity as a formidable tool in the fight against the abuse of sex – enhancement drugs. The need to start this education from our schools cannot be overemphasized and will have far-reaching effects in our quest to dig this canker out of our society completely.
Our authorities, especially our regulatory bodies should be up and doing to weed society of dangers as these. Our non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should contribute their quota by way of funding, logistical support, expertise among other forms of assistant they can offer to help save the young men and women of Ghana who have suddenly using medication where there is no disease at all.
The Ghanaian media-print and electronic alike should use the airtime, space and influence at their disposal to save the young of mother Ghana, and potentially parts of Africa where proliferation of sex-related drugs and aphrodisiacs has risen to problematic levels.

The call is for all well-meaning individuals to put their resources to work in fighting a battle of psychological, physical and even spiritual dimensions: It will save us the disaster of an impotent generation in future.

-Bernard Buachi,
KNUST, Kumasi.
bernardbuachi@yahoo.com.au