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Coalition holds symposium to curb drug, substance use


Pharmacy shop stocked with medicines

Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAP) has set up a coalition to highlight efforts and proffer solutions to curb the menace of drug and substance use ravaging the country.

Addressing newsmen recently in Lagos, Chairman, Drug, and Substance Abuse Committee of the NAP, Dr. Lolu Ojo, said the academy since existence made her impact felt and is uniquely positioned to bring scientific knowledge to bear on the policies/strategic direction of the country with a focus on the development and advancement of pharmaceutical sciences, technology, and innovation in Nigeria.

The coalition tagged ‘Pharmacy United against Drug Abuse’ constitutes of pharmacists and the pharmacy institutions geared towards combating the menace of drug and substance abuse. Ojo said the academy is concerned that the drug and substance abuse have become widespread particularly among the youthful population in Nigeria.

“The menace of drug abuse needs to be checked; otherwise it can impair all the efforts being made to put the nation on a higher and economic pedestal. As a frontline stakeholder in the matter, the academy has decided to mobilize all pharmaceutical professional, trade and regulatory groups to come together and assist the government efforts designed to eliminate the scourge from the society,” the chairman added.

He said there are unconfirmed reports that the age of use has gone down to seven or even slightly below which means that the children in primary schools are already involved. Ojo noted that drug abuse is not a character flaw but rather it is a medical condition that has developed over time.

He continued: “How did we get into this situation? What are the factors driving increased use of drug and substance among our youthful population? What do we have to do to eliminate drug and substance use in Nigeria?

“The answers to these questions and many others will be provided during the programme that was mapped out to generate awareness, talk to the vulnerable and hold a symposium to sample the opinion of other stakeholders.”

The chairman said the activities include a 1000-man sensitisation and awareness walk to educate and inform the public on Monday 10th June 2019 from Allen Avenue/Obafemi Awolowo Way Roundabout to Ikeja under the bridge, then a symposium on Tuesday, 11th June 2019 at Sheraton hotel with the theme, ‘Sustainable Approach to Eradication of Drug Abuse in Nigeria.’

President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa said the menace of drug abuse escalated within a couple of years because of the socio-economic situation of the country, hence people looking for a way to escape reality.

Ohuabunwa said: “For us as pharmacists, it is part of our responsibility to ensure that drug is not abused or misused. Every medicine ought to pass through a pharmacy. Pharmacist should be of good conduct to ensure efficacy and sustainability.”He noted that NAP and others are putting up the symposium to show that pharmacists are eager to work with the government to bring the current situation to a halt.


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Lolu OjoNAP
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