#BCMustFall

2017-02-08 06:01
PHOTO: supplied BronCleer bottles found outside the Woodlands swimming pool.

PHOTO: supplied BronCleer bottles found outside the Woodlands swimming pool.

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THE newly opened Royal Hospital Pharmacy decided this month not to stock schedule two cough mixture, BronCleer, after hoards of youths filled the pharmacy asking to buy the medication which they mix with Coca-Cola to get high.

After seeing how many children came to the pharmacy for this purpose, Merle Williams an employee at the hospital, appealed to the pharmacists to stop stocking the cough mixture and started an online petition to raise awareness about the effects of other pharmacies selling the medication.

“It’s something I have heard about before but I’ve never seen it happening first-hand. The children come to the pharmacy and buy the BronCleer. They walk into the ally off the main street and pour the cough mixture into a two-litre bottle of Coke.

“They come as early as 8am when they should be in school and wait for the pharmacy to open. I have even heard from teachers that some children put it in their juice bottle and carry it to school and you can’t tell the difference because it’s mixed with Coke,” she said.

Williams explained that the codeine in BronCleer mixed with the caffeine in Coke gives them the high.

“The children are just zoned out. It’s like they cannot do, feel or see anything.”

She said the area hit most by this is Woodlands.

She said she has been to the Woodlands grounds and has seen hundreds of bottles of BronCleer lying on the ground.

“I couldn’t sit back and not do anything so I started a Facebook group and sent out broadcast messages to all my contacts to make them aware. Some people said they didn’t even know about it and often wondered why bottles were strewn on the floor.

“The response from the community has been overwhelming. I’m so proud of our pharmacists who took a stand not to stock the cough mixture at the pharmacy, not even for the patients that have prescriptions,” said Williams.

The reason that Broncleer is so freely available to the public is because it is a schedule two, over-the-counter medicine.

During the time that Maritzburg Fever was conducting the interview at Royal Hospital last week about seven children entered the pharmacy requesting Broncleer.

Charldon Jacobs, pharmacist at Royal Hospital Pharmacy, said children come in to buy four to five bottles at a time at a cost of R17 a bottle.

“Initially when we had the influx of people asking for it we limited them to two but as the weeks went on we saw what they were using it for and decided to take a stand against it.

“It’s an ethical decision as well as a business decision because if we continued to sell it [BronCleer] we would attract the wrong type of people to the pharmacy. We hope that others follow us and take a stand too,” said Jacobs.

Williams’s page on Facebook is called ‘#BCMustFall, our kids must rise’ and has the link to the online petition. She needs 5 000 signatures to reach her goal which is to request the MEC for health makes an application to the South Africa Pharmacy Council and The Medicines Control Council to have the issuing of addictive cough syrups controlled.

They come as early as 8am when they should be in school and wait for the pharmacy to open. I have even heard from teachers that some children put it in their juice bottle and carry it to school and you can’t tell the difference because it’s mixed with Coke

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