The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control says it has seized two trucks laden with tramadol.
Tramadol is an opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. However, its ability to produce euphoria has made it subject to abuse and addiction.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, disclosed this at the public launch of drug-related health policies and guidelines in Abuja on Monday.
At the event tagged, ‘The National Policy for Controlled Medicines, National Guidelines for the Estimation of Psychotropic Substances and Precursors and National Minimum Standards for Drug Dependence Treatment in Nigeria,’the NAFDAC boss said tramadol should not have been sold to youths.
Adeyeye said, “Drug use is centrally controlled or central nervous system-based which means it hits the brain immediately and it changes the user to somebody else. During the first use and second use, the brain of the user becomes very different because of dependence.
“They are no longer able to control themselves and that is where the crime, terrorism come in. Therefore, please let the word go out that drug use comes with consequences.
“Of course, we are going to be going after the peddlers. As we speak, we just intercepted two lorries full of tramadol this morning. And where are they going? They are going to the Ajegunles of Nigeria, to the Kanos of Nigeria. Who are they targeting? Our children! Therefore, we need to all come in. It’s our business.”
The NAFDAC boss said many youths were dying of drug overdose because it was very easy for them to access addictive drugs.
She also called on the National Assembly to amend the law such that drug peddlers could be given stiffer penalties.
“There is prosecution and there are arrests. However, personally speaking the sentences are very mild. We need stiffer sentences. There was a case in which someone was sentenced to one and a half years or a fine of N200, 000. Is N200, 000 enough to pay for a life?” Adeyeye said.
She said NAFDAC would be recruiting young pharmacists to visit secondary schools across the country to warn them of the repercussion of drug abuse including the misuse of prescription medicine like codeine.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said it was unfortunate that many persons suffering from terminal illnesses lacked access to narcotic medicines to manage moderate and severe pain.
Adewole, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary at the ministry, Clement Uwaifo, said the ministry and NAFDAC had already carried out a national survey and had been able to get the first scientific estimate of narcotic medicines, psychotropic substances and precursors required in Nigeria.