Sierra Leone declares national emergency as addicts grind up human bones to make drugs

An emergency has been declared in Sierra Leone as drug addicts dig through graves to take human bones. 

The bones are being ground up and used to make kush, which has been prevalent in west Africa for years. 

Kush, otherwise known as Spice, is a synthetic drug that mimics the THC found in cannabis.  

According to local media, ingredients of the drug vary from place to place, but often include opioids, disinfectant and in some cases, ground-down human bones. 

President Julius Maada Bio described the drug as a "death trap" in a nationwide broadcast last week. 

"Our country is currently faced with an existential threat due to the ravaging impact of drugs and substance abuse, particularly the devastating synthetic drug kush," he said. 

Bio added that there had been "escalating fatalities" among kush addicts. 

Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio.
Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio. Photo credit: Reuters

Signs of kush use include swollen and infected legs and feet. Users feel detached from reality for several hours after taking it.

One user spoke with the BBC and admitted the drug has a tight grip on him. 

"I don't like doing this, but I cannot leave it because I enjoy it," he said. 

Security measures have since been tightened in cemeteries to prevent addicts from digging up skeletons from graves. 

According to local media, the drug is also spreading to Liberia and Guinea.