The federal government has stated its intention to work hard towards tackling the current menace of abuse of codeine, tramadol, and other related substances in Nigeria.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known on Tuesday when he inaugurated a Codeine Control and other Related Matters Working Group, CCRWG, in Abuja.
He said that as a step in that direction, the federal government will engage pharmacists, patent and proprietary medicine vendors in order to help inform the society on dangers associated with the abuse of codeine-containing preparations and other related drugs.
Speaking further at the inauguration, Prof. Adewole also stressed the need for pharmacy screening and monitoring as well as surveillance on how those addicted can get assistance and be rehabilitated.
In his words, “It is a matter of utmost concern to note that the safety and concerns around the use and misuse of codeine-containing preparations are well documented and are assuming a frightening dimension in some parts of Nigeria.
“The current situation however requires deployment of feasible strategies to bring the issue under control and prevent future occurrences, hence, this new initiative to put in place a platform; consisting of regulatory bodies and relevant stakeholders, to come up with a working document for tackling the menace of abuse of codeine and other related substances in the currently.”
On the terms of reference of CCRWG, the Minister said the group was to produce, within four to six weeks, a working document containing strategy for “supply management, engagement and monitoring of supply outlets, public enlightenment and advocacy, withdrawal management, continuous surveillance, and any other activity that may be identified as additional strategy.”
In his remarks Mr Elijah Mohammed, who is the Registrar of the Pharmacists Councils of Nigeria (PCN), said as the federal government strives to create a sanitised drug distribution system “we are also conscious of the fact that a large number of Nigerians cutting across different geographical and social strata are already addicted to some of these medicines.”
He pledged the commitment of the working group to halt and overcome the challenge of abuse of codeine, tramadol, and other related substances.
Members of the newly-inaugurated working group were drawn from the Pharmacists Councils of Nigeria (PCN), National Agency For Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Federal Ministry of Health, Department of Food and Drugs Services, National Orientation Agency (NOA), and various pharmacists associations.