‘Delay in closure of open drug markets fuels substance abuse’
Community pharmacists have decried the unrestricted access to medicines through the open drug and inadequate regulatory enforcement markets, which they said has remained the root cause of rampant drug misuse and abuse in the society.
The pharmacists noted that the Federal Government continuous postponement of the closure of open drug market places and full implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) would further aggravate the situation.
This was made known during the community pharmacists’ re-launch of its Campaign against Drug Abuse in Lagos communities, while urging the Federal Government to ensure that it match its words with action by making December 2018 deadline to close all open drug markets a reality.
Delivering her valedictory address during the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, (ACPN), Lagos State chapter, the outgoing chairman, Mr. Abiola Paul-Ozieh charged stakeholders, regulators, businessmen, corporate organisations, pharmacists, and various pharmaceutical technical and interest groups to take collective actions necessary to make the deadline realizable.
“As long as we have the open drug market places, as long as people walk into anywhere, hawk drugs, then we will always have issues with drug abuse. You can imagine how many times closure of open drug market has been postponed now we are saying by December it will be totally out. We are praying it will happen. It is left for stakeholders to see how we can get rid of uncoordinated system of drug distribution system and install a sane distribution system where people can get drugs that are documented and can even be traced to the last user of the medicines,” she said.
While launching the banners that would be placed in all pharmacies across the state, she explained that the banners are part of the awareness creation on the dangers of drug abuse. “Through the banners, we will warn the entire community that drug abuse kills. We want our youths to come out of drug abuse. Those that need help, we will link them to facilities where they will undergo rehabilitation procedures and by that way, they will be reintegrated back to the society,” Abiola added.
She urged the Federal Government to reconstitute the Board of Pharmacists Council, lamenting that that 2018 will mark the third year without a substantive Board.Also speaking, Chairman, Board of Trustees, ACPN Lagos, Pharm. Deji Osinoke, raised the alarm that drug abuse has reached a chaotic dimension in the country.He regretted that the body, many years back, has continued to warn the government about the problem, blaming the situation on what he described as ‘terrible situation’ on chaotic drug distribution, just as he accused the government of paying lip service to drug distribution.On his part, the Public Relation Officer, Obigaeri Ikwu said drug abuse is a serious menace in the society, as a lot of people don’t even know they are abusing drugs.
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