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Pharmacists rally against drug abuse, illegal stores



A pharmacy

Until Lagosians learn to patronize certified pharmacies in their communities, the incidences of drug-induced illnesses and deaths may continue to dot the public health sphere.

This was the message community pharmacists took to Lagos streets early this week, to sensitize the public on dangers of buying drugs from commercial bus hawkers and open drug markets – all illegal stores in the drug distribution chain.

The pharmacists, under the aegis of Association of Community Pharmacists (ACPN), Lagos branch, said besides buying the right medications, the public also stands the benefit of getting the right information on drugs and general well-being by patronizing the right pharmacies.

Chairman of the Lagos ACPN, Biola Paul-Ozieh, at a roadshow in Ojuelegba, Lagos, said the public could decipher duly certified pharmacies by citing the registered pharmacy sign (a green cross, with Pharmacists Society of Nigeria registration number), coupled with the presence of a pharmacist-in-residence.

Paul-Ozieh said the criteria would give members of the public good assurance that they are at the right place to access their drug and get health information.

She added that the health information services and knowing about their medication therapy from the pharmacist in residence would go a long way in addressing the endemic problem of drug abuse with attendance disease resistance, organ failure and deaths.

The pharmacists noted the level of drug abuse was quite alarming. “We see a lot of such in the communities where we practice. People always want to use anything with codeine to get high.

Also, the high abuse of tramadol, which is supposed to be strictly prescription drug.    “Today, Abokis hawk them and you find them in garages.

That shows the level of irrational use of medicine around us, and they explain the larger chunk of kidney and liver diseases that we find around us.

That is why we are calling on the regulatory agencies to begin to do the proper regulations for the sake of the vulnerable Nigerians and the public health. The law has already prohibited the open drug markets,” she said.

The roadshow, which was part of activities for the Pharmacy Week 2015, further raised awareness on the importance of community pharmacists to improving health, especially in the area of immunization, family planning, drug therapy management, patient counseling and communication of vital health information.

Former chairman of the association, Abdusalam Aminu, added every medicine is a potential poison, and the main reason they ought to be prescribed.   Aminu harped that the general public, especially the children, pregnant women and the elderly, should be adequately sensitized and guided on all drugs, for better health outcomes.

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