Ikotun Agog, As Community Pharmacists Walk Against Drug Abuse

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As part of the activities to celebrate the on-going 2018 Lagos Pharmacy Week, members of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) Lagos State branch, have stormed the ever busy Ikotun Community in their numbers to sensitise residents on the need to desist from drug abuse and misuse, which has wrecked a lot of lives and resources in the country.

The one-day drug abuse awareness walk tagged “Community Pharmacists: Promoting Responsible Medicine Use”, was the initiative of the Lagos ACPN, to mark their day in the 2018 Lagos Pharmacy Week, which holds from 13 to 18 August, 2018, with different activities, from the various technical arms of the association.

A cross section of Community Pharmacists at the event in a group photograph with the Chairman, ACPN, Pharm. Olabanji Benedict Obideyi and other dignitaries

Speaking with press men during the programme, the Lagos State ACPN Chairman, Pharm. Olabanji Benedict 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.

Obideyi , however noted that the reason for  holding the rally in Ikotun Community was based on community pharmacist’s concern and desire for improvement in the country’s health indices, especially as regards drug abuse, misuse and self-medication, which are common among the grassroots dwellers, adding that Ikotun community is one of the busiest areas in Lagos, with every ethnic  groups in Nigeria represented.

“We decided to adopt Ikotun Community because of its vast population and also, aside some few areas in Lagos, Ikotun is one part of the state that has great numbers of all the ethnics in Nigeria, and that was the reason we reached out to them during this awareness campaign in the three major languages that we have in Nigeria, which are Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba languages”, he said.

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He further explained that “To tackle the challenge of drug abuse, awareness is key and that is why we are embarking on this awareness programme. Education is also 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,” he said.

Speaking further, the number one community pharmacist in the state decried the increase in drug abuse in the state, saying the state government, under the leadership of Governor Akinwumi Ambode should not relent on his oars in ensuring that the state is rid of drug abuse menace, adding that the state government should further partner with associations like ACPN in order to create needed awareness and campaign against the menace.

In her own contribution, Pharm Abiola Paul-Ozieh, immediate past chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, tasked the parents to rise to their responsibility by  ensuring adequate and proper monitoring of their wards, adding that they should monitor the kind of friends they keep and where they go to at every particular time, because it has been established that majority of them give in to drugs because of peer pressure.

“The Bible says ‘train up a child in the way he should go’, so I believe parents have huge 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 them”, she advised.

For Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, vice-chairman, ACPN, Lagos State and Pharm. Fasasi Taofeek, zonal coordinator,  Ikotun ACPN, the whole essence of the ACPN Day in the 2018 Lagos  Pharmacy Week was to sensitize the public on the dangers inherent in drug misuse and abuse, while the choice of Ikotun as the centre for the campaign was strategic, as its one of the most popular areas in Lagos with huge population.

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According to the duo, the theme for the programme was apt as it further portrayed the community pharmacists as nation builders and contributors in nation building, adding that the emerging role of community pharmacists has gone beyond taking care of drug needs of people .

A major high point of the event was the drama presentation by Drama Troupe from Lagos State, which attracted a lot of people, and which further sensitized people on the danger inherent in drug abuse and misuse.

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