Poised to stem the ugly tide of drug abuse and misuse in the country, members of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) Lagos State branch, besieged the Yaba Market on Wednesday, 8 February, to educate the traders on the dangers of drug abuse, and why they must desist from it.
The pharmacists, who converged at the Yaba Park with a musical band, addressed the commercial drivers, conductors, travellers, and passers-by in the various local languages on the essence of consulting medical personnel before taking any drug whatsoever, because the adverse effects of taking such drugs without prescription could be terminal.
Thereafter, the AHAPN members launched into the streets and market to address the traders one-on-one, on why they must discontinue from drug abuse, listing some over-the –counter drugs they must not abuse, like paracetamol, codein, due to their accessibility and availability.
Speaking with the Chairperson of Lagos AHAPN, Pharm. (Mrs) Folashade Kotun, she noted that the advocacy was actually an eye-opener to them, as some of the people they counselled revealed a lot of heinous practices of drug abuse they have been engaged in, while they were warned on the risk of such habit.
“One of the people we spoke to this morning, told us that he has taken Tramodol, Codein, and a particular bitters, saying that the combination of the three medicines make him feel good. Another person with names withheld said the same thing. This has shown that there is need for more awareness campaign on this issue, as more and more people are engaging in it.
“We can educate our people to eradicate the menace of drug abuse in our society. Our street sensitisation shown that a lot of t people indulging in drug abuse are quite young, and without such advocacy, what will be the future of this youth in the next ten to fifteen years”, she stated.
For Pharm. (Mrs) Margaret Adedapo, who works with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the campaign was very apt at this time, because a lot of drug abuse is going on in our community, thus AHAPN has come to tell them the danger of the negative attitude.
Mrs Adedapo who wears a double cap as the financial secretary of the Lagos AHAPN and national AHAPN, said the campaign will go a long way in changing the negative attitude of the people to drugs, “because we told them the effect of such attitude, as we came down to their levels, spoke to them in the languages they best understood”.
Another participant in the campaign, Pharm. Bisola Salam, of the Federal Medical Centre, Ebutte Meta, noted that it was a laudable programme, as the turnout was quite impressive. The purpose was to enlighten the traders, semi illiterate and illiterate because the educated are well informed of the evils of drug abuse.
Her words: “I specifically addressed the audience in Hausa Language; another colleague spoke in Igbo, while someone else spoke to them Yoruba and Pidgins, all to bring the message home to the people. We told them of the benefits and side effects of drugs, and why they must get counsel from healthcare practitioners’ before taking any medicine”.
One of the traders, Mr Chukwudi Offor asked if one can administer a medicine in an emergency situation before seeing the doctor, just to the safe the patient. But he was advised to always seek medical counsel earlier, before the condition becomes aggravated to an emergency case.
An Okada rider, named Isiaka Saliu hinted the pharmacists on how he usually feel high whenever he takes Alabukun with Alcohol, saying it is difficult for him to desist from such. He was however told that he can do without that drug abuse and still perform well in his business.