Concern is the prevalent emotion that followed recent findings which revealed a worrying number of drug abusers in Nigeria and growth in this figure, which has in turn caused several people to clamor for the government to do something about it.
The National Chairman, Lagos state chapter of the association of community pharmacists of Nigeria, Mrs. Biola Paul-Ozieh recently made a statement concerning the increasing level of drug abuse in Nigeria.
“More young people are now abusing codeine and tramadol. They concoct these drugs to get high. The worst is the abuse of tramadol which is supposed to be a prescription drug. They ask for cough syrups that contain codeine and when you question them about it, they go to illegal drug stores in the neighborhood to buy it.”
Pharmacists around the country have called on government at all levels to address the chaotic drug distribution network in the country to ensure that unqualified persons are not handling the sales of medicines in the country
“The government must wake up and address the sale, distribution and circulation of drugs in Nigeria. they must ask themselves, what is the education and qualification of those stocking and dispensing drugs in this country. The trend is alarming that is why regulatory agencies must help vulnerable Nigerians.” Mr Yomi Adesanya an Arepo area Ogun state based pharmacist stated.
He added, “A colleague of mine was killed in Niger State because he refused to sell codeine to a group of boys after they had made several attempts to buy at his store.” He also alleged that a 19-year-old and his friends had come to buy a carton of cough syrup with codeine one month
“I was shocked when he made this request because what will a 19-year-old want with 40 bottles of cough syrup just because it has codeine. I sent them out of my store. Even though codeine in cough syrup can be sold over the counter, i refused to sell it.”
Another pharmacist Mr. Yinka Aminu highlighted the dangers of overuse saying “The rise in abuse of opioids has been linked to the increase in the incidences of chronic illnesses such as liver and kidney problems.”
The Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, stated that much work needed to be done to address the many harms inflicted by the increasing use of illicit drugs to health, development, peace and security.
The UNODC boss in the 2017 World Drug Report said it’s been estimated that a minimum of 190,000 people die prematurely due to the use of opioids.