Chairman of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State chapter, Pharm. Olabanji Benedict Obideyi, has stated that the time has come for the government of Lagos State, the various regulatory agencies, as well as parents and guardians to partner with community pharmacists in curbing the tide of drug abuse in the country.
Speaking with pressmen during the one-day drug programme, tagged “Community Pharmacists: Promoting Responsible Medicine Use” and featuring an awareness walk, Obideyi hinted that the reason for the awareness walk was to create additional avenue for acquainting the public with the vital roles of community pharmacists in healthcare delivery, adding that the association as an arm of PSN was delighted to celebrate this year’s Pharmacy Week with the people at the grassroots.
The ACPN chairman revealed that community pharmacists are concerned and eagerly desire improvement in the country’s health indices, especially as regards drug abuse, misuse and self-medication, which are common among grassroots-dwellers.
On the choice of Ikotun as an area of focus, Obideyi noted that the community is one of the busiest areas in Lagos, with every ethnic group in Nigeria represented.
“We decided to adopt Ikotun Community because of its vast population and also, aside from a few other areas in Lagos, Ikotun is one part of the state that has great numbers of all the ethnics in Nigeria. That was the reason we reached out to them during the awareness in the three major languages that we have in Nigeria, which are Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba ”, he said.
Obideyi also stated that “to tackle the challenge of drug abuse, awareness is key and that is why we are embarking on this awareness programme. Education is important, but most importantly, the drug laws have to be more stringent while agencies that are saddled with the responsibility of regulation should be up and doing.”
Speaking further, the number one community pharmacist in the state decried the prevalence of drug abuse in the state, saying the state government, under the leadership of Governor Akinwumi Ambode should not relent on its oars in ensuring that the state is rid of the menace.
He added that the state government should further partner with associations like ACPN, in order to create the needed enlightenment and campaign against the menace.
In her own contribution, Pharm Abiola Paul-Ozieh, immediate past chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, tasked parents to rise to their responsibility by ensuring adequate and proper monitoring of their wards, adding that they should monitor the kind of friends their children keep and where they go to at every particular time, because it has been established that majority of youths give in to drugs out of peer pressure.
“The Bible says ‘train up a child in the way he should go’; so I believe parents have huge a responsibility and duty to ensure that their children stay away from drug abuse. As it is today in Nigeria, many youths are involved in this issue of drug abuse; so parents should be up and doing in order to ensure that this menace is curbed because they are the closest to the youths”, she advised.
For Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, vice-chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, and Pharm. Fasasi Taofeek, zonal coordinator, ACPN-Ikotun, the essence of having the ACPN Day in PSN 2018 Pharmacy week was to sensitise the public on the dangers inherent in drug misuse and abuse.
According to the duo, the theme of the programme was apt, as it further portrayed community pharmacists as nation-builders and contributors in nation building, adding that the role of community pharmacists has gone beyond taking care of the drug needs of people to include pharmaceutical care, drug advice, counselling and health monitoring.
A major highlight of the event was the drama presentation by the Lagos State drama troupe, which attracted lots of passersby, and created further awareness on the danger inherent in drug abuse and misuse.