It was the discovery of the body of a 22-year-old woman on the streets of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, last year that brought into the open the problem of female drug addiction in the city. Health workers said she died from an opioid overdose.
Friends of the social media influencer said she had been injecting drugs for a long time. They said she was high when she recorded some of her popular TikTok videos.
Police have registered an increase in substance abuse in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia, including among women. They say people are turning to new types of drugs.
Whereas they used to chew the narcotic leaf khat — which is not illegal — drink alcohol, sniff glue or smoke hashish, more and more people are abusing opioids which they inject directly into their veins. These include morphine, tramadol, pethidine and codeine.
In early December, police seized a large consignment of prescription drugs, mainly opioids, at Mogadishu’s international airport. They arrested the importers.