The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has called on the Federal Government to step up enforcement activities against unregulated sales of drugs in order to curb the menace of drug abuse in the country.
Mr Sunday Ike, the Chairman of ACPN, FCT Chapter, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja, to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The Day which is commemorated on June 26 annually, is a global observance event to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.
Ike however commended the efforts of the government so far in curbing the menace of drug abuse especially Codeine and Tramadol, and called for intensified efforts to rid the society of the menace.
The chairman frowned at the large number of illegal outlets or premises or drug destruction channels in the country and described it as contributing factors to the rate of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the country.
Ike emphasised that government should step up its enforcement exercise in ensuring that only those that are trained, licensed to handle drugs in the country were actually the ones handling it.
According to him, drug is not essential commodity, not Bournvita or article for trade, it is poison and people must be guided on how it should be administered and they should desist from self prescription.
“Drugs are poison if not taken properly or based on recommendation by professionals, can destroy the body system. Government should make sure there are good drug distribution channels through which people can take drugs as obtainable in some other countries where drugs are well regulated. In such countries, drugs are not sold in open market because it is not a commodity or article of trade. So government should not see drug as an article of trade or means of generating revenue”, he said.
He added that “all the illegal outlets should be closed and people should patronise registered premises when they have need for drugs and avoid self prescription,” he advised.
Ike defined abuse as habitual use of drugs not needed for therapeutic purposes, solely to alter one’s mood, affect a state of consciousness, or to affect a body function unnecessarily.
He identified drug abuse as posing economic, security and health threat to individuals, communities and the nation at large, adding that majority of people that engaged in one crime or the other in the country do that under the influence of drugs.
He emphasised that dependency on drugs could get to a level where the victim would no longer depend on natural sources even when they intended sleeping or engage in other activities.
The chairman however noted that abuse of drugs metabolise the system, adding that if care is not taken, it will destroy the liver and kidney.
“I admonish the general public to desist from drug because there is no benefit in drug or substance abuse; taking drugs for whatever reason may be euphoric, you are destroying your internal organs. Like when the issue of abuse of Codeine cough containing syrup started people were taking it gradually from lower dose to higher for euphoric effects and they got addicted to the extent that they cannot do without it”, he said.