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Pharmacists want Senate to check rising menace of drug abuse among youths

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Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have urged the Nigerian Senate to make appropriate legislations and amendments to existing ones to help check the rising menace of drug abuse among youths in the country.

The PSN in its recommendations to the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health at its one-day hearing in Abuja admonished the legislators to ensure that the proposed constitutional amendments and reforms championed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not remove drug matters currently listed on the Exclusive Legislative List as item 21 of part I in the second schedule of the 1999 constitution.

President PSN, Ahmed I. Yakasai, at the public hearing, said: “Most responsible and responsive countries place drug matters under federal or central control because of the need to place premium on safety and well being of consumers of health.

A country with a history of poor regulatory control in the pharmaceutical sector which continues to encourage a fake drug syndrome and challenges of drug abuse/misuse cannot afford multiple regulatory agencies to control and regulate narcotics, registration of food and drug products as well as licensure of drug premises.”

Yakasai said placing drug matters on the concurrent list would imply having a minimum of 37 licensing authorities to carry out the present responsibilities of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) with dire consequences to the health and security of the country.

He conveyed the appreciation of the Society to the National Assembly for heeding the sensible clarion call, which led to the passage of the amended Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill, and strongly urged the National Assembly to ensure a speedy Presidential assent to enable the new Act of Parliament reshape the course of monitoring and control procedures in Nigeria.

Yakasai said the envisaged Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill is well grounded in law to boost the inspectorate activities of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), which has statutory powers to regulate and control all pharmaceutical premises in both public and private sectors.

“This mandate also gives PCN latitude to modulate the activities of any stakeholder in the drug distribution channels in Nigeria,” he said.

The PSN appealed to the National Assembly to consider dispensing meaningful budgets for the inspectorate activities of the PCN, and in similar spirit, these enhanced budgets must be extended to NAFDAC and NDLEA.

The pharmacists regretted that the recurring menace of drug misuse and abuse is now taking unprecedented toll on the health consuming public in Nigeria and advocated an amendment of the NDLEA Act to accommodate a new directorate of Consumer Protection to be headed by a Registered Pharmacist.


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