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TRACES OF OPIATES IN SHISHA COLLECTED IN NAIROBI, KENYA
J. K. GATHUMBI1, S. KIMANI2,
G. KIMANI3 et. al.
1 FVM, UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI, KENYA. 2NACADA, KENYA. 3 BORA BIOTECH LTD, KENYA.
The term shisha is derived from the Persian word shīshe and refers to a syrupy tobacco mix with molasses, honey, vegetable glycerol and a variety of apple, grape, guava, lemon, mint, that is smoked through water.
Term is also used to refer to an instrument for vaporizing and smoking flavored tobacco in which the vapor or smoke is passed through water before inhalation.
SHISHA /HOOKAH / WATERPIPE
Shisha smoking is popular among urban populations particularly in Middle East and Asia and increasingly also in Africa and the rest of the world.
In an article “Greek addicts turn to deadly shisha drug as economic crisis deepens” (Helena Smith, The Guardian, 16 May, 2013), shisha was referred to as 'cocaine of the poor'.
HAZARDS OF SHISHA SMOKING
Similar to those associated with cigarette smoking.
Include lung cancer, esophageal cancers, chronic bronchitis, lung emphysema, low birth weight, precipitation of asthma attacks and pneumonia.
Pipe-sharing in shisha smoking use may also transmit infectious diseases such as TB and hepatitis.
HAZARDS OF SHISHA SMOKING
Potential role of shisha use as a gateway to other addictive substances such as cannabis and heroin (Javaid Khan, 2013).
Exact ingredients are often unknown due to 1. poor labeling, and 2. manufacturing methods are not standardized.
Within the last few years, there has been a rapid growth in the number of pubs, cafes and restaurants offering shisha smoking across Kenya.
These outlets are increasingly attracting people from different backgrounds, most of whom are youthful.
Little is known about the composition of shisha consumed locally, especially possibility of adulterated with prohibited substances.
Even less is known about what socio-economic or health effects shisha smoking in the country
NACADA has a mandate of curbing drug abuse by citizens of Kenya, especially the youth and children
NACADA embarked on an exercise to collect shisha samples with a view to testing for any addictive and prohibited constituents.
The core objectives of this exercise were therefore to:
1 Collect random samples from different parts of Nairobi.
2 Test the collected samples.
3 Present results for further discussion.
A total of 8 samples were collected.
Some of the samples collected were in their original manufacturers’ packaging while others were collected in small portions from the point of use.
The samples were then transmitted to Bora Biotech laboratories in Nairobi.
Sample analysis was conducted using an immunological rapid screening test that uses disposable test devises (Drugwipe®, Securetec, Germany).
Test devices have a detection limit of 10ppb.
Manufacturer’s instructions were followed.
These test devises are recommended as appropriate for screening for cocaine, heroin (opiates), marijuana, and amphetamines by US department of Justice (NIJ Guide 601-00).
Different test devises were used on each sample to test for cocaine, heroin (opiates), marijuana, and amphetamines. Each sample was therefore tested four (4) times using a different device to test for each substance.
The results were from each test were read as either positive (detected presence of the substance) or negative (no presence of the substance detected).
A total of eight samples were analyzed (Table 1).
All samples were negative for cocaine, marijuana,
All tests were positive for opiates.
The amphetamine test was negative for seven samples and positive for one sample
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
The occurrence of traces of narcotic drugs in the increasingly popular shisha is a great cause of concern.
There is need for an elaborate survey involving a larger sample size and covering a wide range of outlets from across the country.
Further, verification of positive samples using confirmatory methods such as gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is required.