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Ayao* is a tall and well-built 15-year-old, and like many his age, he is very particular about his appearance. He wears a white T-shirt with a colourful design on the front, white trousers and Kappa slip-on sandals. He likes to put a lot of effort into grooming his stylishly cut hair. When I meet him at his family’s simple one-storey brick house in Lomé, Togo’s capital, he stands in his room looking into a tiny mirror, wincing as the comb gets stuck.

Ayao works for a company that sells drinking water. He gets up at five to load transport tricycles with heavy bags of water sachets, and then delivers them to shops in the local area. Before starting this morning, he took two white tramadol pills, each with a stated dose of 225 mg.

For four years now, Ayao has been taking between 450 and 675 mg of tramadol almost every day. The maximum daily dose recommended by doctors is 400 mg.

…continue reading ‘The Opioid Epidemic You Haven’t Heard About’

Image: © Nyani Quarmyne/Panos for Mosaic

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