The Association of Community Pharmacist of Nigeria has called on the government to close down all open drug markets in the country, saying it is an elixir for curbing abuse and misuse of drugs among youths.
The ACPN Lagos State Chairman, Mrs. Biola Paul-Ozieh, made the appeal during the association’s 2016 annual general meeting in Lagos.
According to her, unrestricted access to medicines has contributed to increase in drug abuse among teenagers in the country.
Paul-Ozieh said, “The menace of drug abuse has reached an alarming rate in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. Many youths now regularly misuse cough mixes with codeine, analgesic, and tramadol because they can easily lay their hands on them.
“This is because of the unauthorised sale of drugs in different communities in Lagos. There is the need for NAFDAC to reclassify cough mixes with codeine as prescription medicines. As a professional group, we are appealing to the regulatory authorities, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria to act on this development by shutting down open drug markets. These are the illegal places where drugs are sold to teenagers.”
The chairman also urged pharmacists to be responsible by querying customers and patients who come to buy these medicines in their stores.
She said, “Parents and guardians have a role to play in ensuring that young Nigerians do not abuse drugs because it predisposes them to chronic diseases. They should ensure that all medicines are bought from pharmacies with the ‘Green Cross’ pharmacy emblem.”
However, she commended the inclusion of health insurance in the Lagos Health Act and called for the roll out of guidelines for speedy implementation of the scheme.
The ACPN helmsman advised the state government to learn from the faltering implementation of National Health Insurance Scheme at the federal level and avoid errors that could distort the implementation of the scheme in the state.