After the Sierra Leone Civil War, a brutal massacre resulting in over 50000 deaths, a wave of drug abuse swept Africa. This was caused by soldiers returning home addicted to various drugs that saw widespread use throughout the conflict. Owners of drug empires worldwide then saw an opportunity they could take advantage of. They wanted to get drugs into Europe, and from there America. However, security has been cracking down on their old routes, so they needed a new route to ship their drugs in. They settled on Africa, as they could give their illegal employees a measly portion of the drug they transport, getting them addicted and stuck trafficking drugs for a long time to come.
During the war, the types of drugs used varied. Both sides, rebels and the government used brown-brown, or cocaine mixed with gunpowder, amphetamines, and Marijuana. This usage caused many brutal atrocities during the war, mostly caused by high soldiers resorting to needless violence and terrorism, against anyone they came across that was not a part of their particular group, be it soldiers or rebels. According to a study done by Morten Bøås and Anne Hatløy on drug consumption after the war, some farmers were able to take advantage of the new demand for marijuana by beginning to farm it, selling it for 90,000 leones a kilo. The typical farmer is able to get 35 kilos, per harvest, which they can do twice a year, as it grows year round.
A large part of their market is made up of people, some children in their teens, who were in the war and returned home addicted. Brown brown, a version of heroin, is used very little, mostly because it gives a high that lasts only a few minutes. Bøås also states “Although the drug was already present in Sierra Leone prior to the war – routes for drug trafficking were already established in the 1980s between West Africa and Moscow and other Eastern European cities, and from there to markets in Eastern Europe – the real introduction to brown-brown and other types of relatively cheap hard drugs took place during the civil war.” The study also covered crack cocaine, a drug that provides an intense high, and crash. Crack cocaine is widely known of in Sierra Leone, however, due to its expense it is not as common as other drugs.
It was introduced to the public by the civil war. “Most of those who told us they used crack cocaine said they had been doing so since the war” (Bøås 45). Lastly covered is a drug called ‘Top-up’ as it has the ability to lengthen the high given by other drugs.
It is typically used by “weekend partygoers” for a more intense and long lasting high. It is a relatively new drug on the market so the researchers do not know at the time what the drug consists of, although they suspect it is a type of strong tranquilizer.