By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The importation and production of cough syrups with codeine have been banned by the Nigerian authorities.
This ban followed a documentary filmed by BBC, outlining the illegal sale and abuse of codeine used in the production of cough syrups.
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, who gave this directive on Tuesday, said Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, (PCN) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), should supervise the recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine containing cough syrups in the country.
According to him, this move became necessary to tackle drug abuse in the country especially among youths.
The Minister said instead of using codeine to make cough syrups, dextromethorphan, which is less addictive, should be used.
He said henceforth, no cough syrups containing codeine should be sold in the country without prescription from medical personnel.
The Minister said government would ensure that drug treatment intervention for victims of substances abuse shall be undertaken across the spectrum of health care delivery system in the country.
He ordered NAFDAC to fully carry out its functions among others: to regulate and control the manufacturing, distribution and sale of drugs, including inspection at points of entry of drugs, drug products and food for compliance with the new directive.
“Furthermore, these agencies shall work together to increase pharmacovigilance around codeine, tramadol and other related substances of abuse,” Mr Adewole said.
Already, NAFDAC has developed IEC materials that will be used in an already planned national campaign against drug abuse, and awareness programme that includes Young Pharmacists Group of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria. This will soon be flagged off in Kano and Lagos.
As a way of discouraging youths to shun the drugs, the Federal Government, through Federal Ministry of Health, said it would partner with National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), football celebrities, members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Performing Musicians of Nigeria (PMAN) and other celebrities to drive national campaign against drug abuse.
He said further that the ministry will collaborate with NAFDAC, PCN, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), for effective implementation of extant Acts, regulations, policies and guidelines on codeine control and usage.
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