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Ban of codeine: Merely scratching the surface, insists Kwara PCN


Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole

A former chairman of Kwara State chapter of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (CPN), Babatunde Samuel, has described the recent ban of Codeine in Nigeria as “a drop in the ocean” of drug abuse syndication in the country. 

The development is coming on the heels of a denial by the management of Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Industries Limited in Ilorin that the company was allegedly mass producing and dispensing the banned substance in the town and its environs. 

Samuel, in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin, said as timely as the intervention of the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, leading to the ban, may be, a vast majority of healthcare professionals see it as merely scratching the surface of a deeply-rooted problem. 

He stated: “What goes around comes around. The Nigeria government, the health system itself, including the practitioners, all have a chunk of the blame for this plight.“The question that every concerned citizens should be asking now is: How did we get into this mess that has brought untold suffering to our youths especially and brought about a national embarrassment to the citizenry? Where do we head for hence?” 

Samuel identified many issues leading to the problem of drug addiction in Nigeria thus: “Failure of successive governments to heed the gospel cry of both the Pharmacists Council of Nigerian (PCN) and Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on the need to shut down the plethora of Open Drug Markets (ODMs) scattered across the nation.

“These markets have over the years served as an accessible pool from where the masses, knowingly or unknowingly, draw prescription drugs unabated.“Massive regulatory lapses or failure on the part of government organs saddled with the responsibility of checkmating sharp practices in the system.”

The Ilorin-based pharmaceutical industry, in a statement, said it had, before the ban, put on hold one its products that contained the banned substance, in line with the directive of the Federal Government. 

The management vowed serious war and better strategies to ensure that leakages of its products no longer thrive among those prone to their abuse, insisting: “Our records related to this product have periodically been checked by NAFDAC through their Narcotic Directorate and their Kwara State office and the company has not for once been found wanting or short of expectations.”

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