Association works to end scourge of opioid in Nigeria


The Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA), Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) are working to combat the rising scourge of Opioid misuse in Nigeria.


Charmaine Emelife, ANPA President, in a statement released in Abuja said both associations were planning to train health workers to combat the rising scourge of Opioid misuse and addiction in Nigeria.


Emelife said the workshop, to hold on April 9 in Abuja, was aimed at equipping the Nigerians healthcare professionals with the knowledge, skills and tools for combating the challenges of the Opioid addiction epidemic.


He said there was a rising misuse of drugs for recreational purposes in Nigeria, adding that this had been a source of concern for the Nigerian Health Authorities and healthcare professionals.


According to the him, a recent survey led by the Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Center for Research and Information on Substance Abuse showed that over the past year alone, nearly 15 per cent of the adult population in Nigeria reported use of psychoactive drug substances.


“This rate is considerably much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6 per cent among adults. The most common Opioid implicated in this crisis is Tramadol and Codeine-based Syrup.


“Tramadol and Codeine exhibits an effect profile similar to that of other opioid agonists. They bind to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, disrupting pain signals.


“They also activate the reward areas of the brain by releasing the hormone dopamine, creating a feeling of euphoria or a “high when the drug is taken at higher doses. This can lead to hallucinations, delusions, schizophrenia and organ failure,” he said.


Emelife said that tramadol and codeine, including other potent mixtures of several drugs with high risk of fatal overdoses had been reported.


“Quartz Africa, an online based economic journal, reports the common use of “gutter water,” a widely consumed cocktail mix of codeine, tramadol, rohypnol, cannabis and water or juice.


“Some young adults are also turning to crude concoctions as alternatives, including smoking lizard parts and dung as well as sniffing glue, petrol, sewage and urine as inhalants.


“These concerns are at the heart of this effort by the doctors and pharmacists. It is hoped that the training and the follow up advocacy by the two organisations will complement other efforts by other professional organisations and other government and multilateral agencies to eradicate the scourge of opioid abuse.


The ANPA represents the professional interests of 4,000 plus physicians, dentists and allied health professionals of Nigerian birth, ethnicity or empathy in the U. S., Canada and the Caribbean.


The aim is to provide a platform for medical and scientific dialogue, on issues of health within North America, the Caribbean, and Africa, pertinent to persons of descent from the Nigerian Diaspora.


NAPPSA is an umbrella organisation of Nigerian pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, allied scientists and the academia in the Americas.

Bilkisu Pai